‘Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams - The Lost Year Compendium’ - Trade Paperback Review

Batman and The Maxx. Gritty, heroic, smart. Well, Batman is smart. The new Dynamic Duo they are not, but more of a buddy cop duo who are about two days away from retirement. Partners thrust together in a situation neither expected nor consensual. When you take on the Outback, it's best to do it together and there's no one much more experienced in the Outback than The Maxx. Two heroes forced into a situation that puts their physical and mental acumen to the test. Not just the type of brain power gained by years of training and deduction, but also the type of brain power one earns on the streets. That's easy enough to say for the Batman, but The Maxx goes about it in a whole different way. Imagine a funhouse mirror. You look into one, and what do you see? A warped, distorted vision staring back at you with your own eyes. Such can be said for these two heroes, if that's what you call them. Two sides of the same coin, one created on the streets of Gotham, the other who still lives there. Batman can only save what he knows; The Maxx can only save what he perceives. It'll take both to save the Outback and protect Julie and the Jungle Queen from unseen foes.

Let's talk Australia. Batman has Gotham as his claimed territory to serve and protect, and The Maxx has The Outback. This is not the Australia you may remember from your school days, the land of koalas, kangaroos, and Crocodile Dundee. This is the Outback of the mind, the original Pangea which is guarded by the Jungle Queen, mistress of the fields and creatures, protected by The Maxx from all that would do his queen and her land harm. Protected from what and why has yet to be uncovered. The land is dying, the creatures are even deadlier, and that languid, lingering, putrid stench wafting around is either a giant air whale carcass or a sewer pipe exploded in Arkham Asylum, where this adventure unfolds. That and the Outback, of course. The two could be the same far as we know, but one thing is for sure: There is more than one puppeteer pulling the strings, and they are, in varying degrees, quite adept. It's one thing to pull the strings without the puppet's knowledge, but to have the puppeteer's strings pulled without their knowledge is something all together different. Man behind the man, so to speak, and another behind that. Maybe even one more...

This collection compiles the first 3 of 5 issues of Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams by comic hard hitter Sam Keith.  Batman/The Maxx: Arkham DreamsThe Lost Compendium is a fantastic read for anyone with a cursory interest in getting even more into the psychology of the vigilante, né "hero," and what motivates them. What is it about tragic characters that makes you root for them, even when they aren't in the right, but who's to say what is? As the story continues, we hope to see our two costumed leading men find resolutions to their individual troubles, because they are one and the same. Until the next issue, I'm Gone, no joke. Drop a few bucks and add it to your collection,

You can thank me later.

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