Arkham Asylum: Living Hell

 AALH   (DC, 2003–2004, 2011)

™ and © DC Comics, Inc.

If the remaining five issues of this mini-series are as clever, as thoughtful, and as entertaining as this first installment, readers will not want to miss a single moment. A standalone story detailing the account of a sane (if thoroughly corrupt) white-collar criminal’s stay at the infamous home for the criminally insane, “Whole in the Head” hinges on an utterly delicious concept: the fact that, in Gotham City, it is probably (make that absolutely) better to be found guilty than innocent by reason of insanity. No one, especially not a rich, pampered brat whom everyone hates, wants to do time alongside the likes of The Joker, Two-Face, and The Mad Hatter. Another engaging aspect of the story revolves around the rich portrayal of the prison psychiatrist, who in many ways feels as imprisoned as the inmates she counsels.

There are a number of priceless moments in the first issue, two of which stand out: the smirk on the judge’s face when he sentences the man to an indefinite period of observation at Arkham, and The Joker calling the new inmate “the worst person I’ve ever met” (while in the shower, no less).

Holding the package together is the art of Ryan Sook. His style, which borrows from Mike Mignola (but not slavishly), fits the darkly desperate tale well.

— Brett Weiss

Jump to issue:
  NotesWriterArtist

#1

  7/1/2003
  $2.50
  $3.00
3 copies available from $3.00
1st appearance of Jane Doe; 1st appearance of Warren White; 1st appearance of Death RattleDan SlottRyan Sook

#2

  8/1/2003
  $2.50
  $3.50
3 copies available from $3.50
1st appearance of Humpty Dumpty (Humphry Dumpler); 1st appearance of LunkheadDan SlottRyan Sook

#3

  9/1/2003
  $2.50
  $3.50
3 copies available from $3.50
1st appearance of Doodlebug (Daedalus Boch); 1st appearance of Junkyard Dog; Origin of Humpty Dumpty (Humphry Dumpler)Dan SlottRyan Sook

#4

  10/1/2003
  $2.50
  $2.75
3 copies available from $2.50
 Dan SlottRyan Sook

#5

  11/1/2003
  $2.50
  $2.25
7 copies available from $1.96
Death of Junkyard Dog; Origin of Doodlebug (Daedalus Boch)Dan SlottRyan Sook

#6

  12/1/2003
  $2.50
  $1.75
6 copies available from $0.98
1st appearance of Great White; Death of Doodlebug (Daedalus Boch)Dan SlottRyan Sook

Book #1

 
  $12.95
  $19.00
No copies available
Collects Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #1–6; ca. 2004Dan SlottRyan Sook, Jim Royal

Book #1 (2nd printing)

 
  $12.95
  $13.00
No copies available
Second Printing. Collects Mini Series #1-6; ca. 2004Dan SlottRyan Sook, Jim Royal

Book #1 (3rd printing)

 
  $14.99
  $14.99
No copies available
Collects Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #1-6; ca. 2011Dan SlottRyan Sook, Jim Royal

Book #1 Deluxe Edition

 
  $22.99
  $22.99
No copies available
Deluxe Hardcover; Collects Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #1-6; ca. 2014Dan SlottRyan Sook