Batman: Arkham City Concept Art

Michael Moran writes for Bleeding Cool:

We’ve seen over 70 years of Batman in comics, two movie serials, seven feature films, innumerable animated appearances and one irrepressibly daft live action TV show.

Still one of the most visually arresting depictions of Gotham City’s brooding protector has been in Rocksteady’s 2009 videogame Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Melding the muscular presence of Jim Lee’s take on the character with the painterly ‘rightness’ of the Alex Ross look, Rocksteady’s Batman was as good as the character has looked in his history.

Early cutscenes from the inevitable sequel – in which an entire neighbourhood of Gotham has been cleared to house the inmates of Arkham and Blackgate – look if anything more wonderful still.

Somehow the game’s designers have teased even more detail and scope out of the game engine. Here’s a few rather pretty pieces of concept art showing the Caped Crusader abroad in this perilous new environment. He’s shown looking down on a blighted cityscape (Crime Alley?) and of course perched atop one of those ubiquitous gargoyles.

The concept drawings above were created by Carlos D’Anda. As well as the Ross and Lee feeling carried over from the last game there are hints here of Bill Sienkiewicz’s blackly impressionistic style.

Veteran Batman writer Paul Dini – who has been behind all the best Batman animation on TV as well as writing some of the more entertaining funnybooks of the modern era – is onboard again to provide the game with its narrative thread.

Dini has also collaborated with Carlos D’Anda to create a a mini-series of six comics to preview the game, with additional downloadable chapters linking the six stories together.

The first issue should be in UK comics stores in late May or early June.

The whole series will likely be re-released as a collection around the time of the game’s release in October.

Setting aside the unknown quantity that is the live arena show and bearing in mind that the next (and almost certainly last) Christopher Nolan Bat-film won’t be out until 2012 (or even later if the world ends before then) the Arkham City stuff will be the best thing to happen in Gotham for quite some little while.

For any Batman fan, even if they’re not usually a gamer, it’s definitely worth a look.

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