My 16-year-old self just flipped his lid.
Straight off the bat (See what I did there?), it's a beautifully crafted comic by creator Sam Kieth. Kieth came along at just the right time in the mid '90s, so young adults moving on from Beavis and Butthead to animation with more emotional and intelligent content. Thank goodness "Liquid Television" came along and screwed our minds up good. The Maxx series on MTV was a big catalyst to many young'uns interested in outside the box comics. Kieth's artwork and prose is as good as ever. Having previously worked on various Batman titles, Kieth has created a style that is unique and signature. You see something by Sam Kieth, you know it's by Sam Kieth. It's like visiting an old friend. Speaking of old friends...
The Batman, Gotham's Dark Knight and occasional savior. Okay, more than "occasional." If you were born in, say, the last 80 years, you are more than likely to know who we're talking about here. So, let's forgo the tragic back story and jump to the good stuff.
Put them all in a blender, and you get a frothy glass of Batman/TheMaxx: Arkham Dreams. When we last left our slightly less than dynamic duo, they were playing metaphysical hop-scotch between Gotham and The Outback, while gaining insight into each other's personal head space. Quick flashes of cognizance allow for insights each need to fulfill their duties - Maxx to his Jungle Queen and Batman to the city that made him. But it didn't make only him.
On top of trying to shut down the newest crack pot doctor at Arkham, whose work (meddling with minds) is what started this whole thing, the hits just keep on coming. Having willing participants to experiment with now, he continues to blur the lines between worlds of each individual's reality and "Outback."
Arkham really is the framework that deserves Kieth's attention and affection. Old friends (What is a friend, really?) are let loose in this issue, and the wheels begin to turn as to what end. Just as much as Batman and The Maxx exist, so do their counterparts, which were thought long since gone or locked away, slumbering like a babe, lulled to sleep with promises of pleasant Arkham Dreams.
Grab a copy, nab the previous two issues, and settle in for a new type of mind trip.
You can thank me later.
Creative Team: Sam Kieth (writer/artist)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Click here to purchase.