DC Reveals Dark Theory That Would Redefine Batman Lore

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Arkham City: The Order of The World #2!

While Arkham Asylum has long been an institution in the vast Batman mythos, its importance tends to fluctuate as different creative teams have their run of the character and his world. As Arkham Asylum now stands ruined and decrepit following the events of A-Day, the inmates have escaped and have their run of the Gotham during the events of Fear State. In the midst of all the chaos, DC has revealed a dark theory that recontextualizes Batman’s lore and his relation to his gallery of rogues.

In Arkham City: The Order of The World #2 by Dan Waters and Dani, former Arkham employee Dr. Jacosta Joy is harboring the escaped Ten-Eyed Man as she continues her quest to find her patients who are still missing after the events of A-Day. Meanwhile, GCPD Detective Stone continues to follow up on leads regarding the Mad Hatter and the victims he’s left behind. Dr. Joy speaks with Ten-Eyed Man, who explains Arkham Asylum’s unique relationship with Gotham City, and using this relationship he tips off Dr. Joy as to where one Arkham patient has been kept. Before the patient can be safely rescued, Azrael strikes, harming both the patient and detective Stone.

Related: DC is Finally Admitting Arkham Asylum is Completely Misunderstood

Ten-Eyed Man explains to Dr. Joy that long ago, when Amadeus Arkham founded his asylum, he first looked out from his stately manor and saw Gotham’s sickness running rampant through the city. In response, Amadeus allegedly remodeled his home not just to double as a mental hospital, but to also serve as a model of Gotham itself. Supposedly, this allowed Arkham to not just hold Gotham’s mentally unstable, but to also capture and contain its evil and sickness. While, at first, this seems incredibly far-fetched to Dr. Joy, she still trusts Ten-Eyed Man’s tip. When she sees Ten-Eyed Man’s cobbled-together map of Gotham, his story actually appears to be true as the asylum’s floorplan fits almost perfectly over Gotham.

If Amadeus Arkham really did construct his asylum in a way that is reflective of the City’s evils, it drastically redefines Batman’s lore and his relationship to his foes. While Batman's presence and inspiration is often blamed for the existence of his costumed foes, this new theory suggests that these villains, or people as disturbed as them, would have appeared anyway. If Gotham is an asylum, it needs patients to house, Batman or no Batman. Arkham Asylum captures the worst of Gotham, costumed villains or otherwise. Furthermore, this theory gives Joker an even stronger link to the city. Gotham may be Batman’s City, but the asylum is almost always portrayed as Joker’s domain. Batman rules over the Gotham of hope and progress, whereas Joker lords over its dark reflection in Arkham. Batman’s villains are no longer just reflections of just his flaws, they have become analogs of the evil and corruption that plagues all of Gotham’s citizens.

While, to many, Arkham Asylum is simply the dumping ground where Batman deposits his defeated foes, Arkham City: The Order of The World #2 shows that the asylum is more than a mental hospital, it is a dark reflection of Gotham itself, and just as Joker is the dark heart of the Asylum, Batman is the watchman who protects Gotham from its darker self.

More: Batman: Detective Comics' Huge Shadow of the Bat Event Explained

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