Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth/Nightmare Fuel

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  • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Especially Clayface. "Batman... My skin is sick..."
    • And the postscript from an incredibly minor character, read in context of the whole book, is incredibly frightening: Dr. Milo's gotten through his insanity, but nobody believes him.
    • I found Maxie Zeus' portrayal in that book to be the scariest. Maybe it was the indecipherable graffiti outside his cell, or the electroshock machine which stuck dozens of searing-hot electrical wires into his body (including a few which I'm fairly certain attached "down there"), or his disturbing-as-hell messianic complex, or what said electroshock machine was clearly doing to his body and mind.
    • You know what, this entire freaking book is insanely just plain scary. The way that Mad Hatter is hinted at being a pedophile, the way that the book is drawn so loose, shadowy, and surreal, the way that Two Face is shown unable to make any decision; even one as simple as going to the bathroom due to how his coin has been replaced with a deck of cards, Clayface as above, Maxie Zeus as above, the twisted flashbacks of asylum founder Amadeus Arkham; who had to slit his own insane and sick mothers throat; and eventually goes insane himself. The creepiest thing though? The Joker. The way that he has high heels, long fingernails, and he slaps Batman's ass. The way that he is drawn, pale skin contrasting with the dark tones, surreal art that frequents between detail and everything being blurred makes it the most terrifying way the Joker is drawn ever. Don't believe me? Take a look yourself. Above all the creepiest thing about him though? What he says, does, and how he says it. He doesn't have speech bubbles at all, he has demented blood red letters splattered all over the page in all caps; it really gives you a feeling about how he talks and his manner. How he talks about stabbing eyes out, divine madness, men who are pranked into thinking that their wife gave a safe pregnancy and then the doctors and nurses yell "April Fool's, your wife is dead and the baby's a spastic!" while at the same time blowing a guards head off, this is one of the scariest portrayals of the character. All in all, this is one of my favorite comic books, even if it is bloodcurling.
      • One of the most morbid portrayals of Two-Face is this comic. I mean, the man is portrayed as rather pitiable in it, but it's somewhat horrific to see him having to rely upon cards instead of his coin to the point of having to use them whether to decide to go to the bathroom or not. It's sad, yes.. but also extremely scary for me.
    • Batman and Gordon hear this horrific moment where Joker brings forth a hostage named Pearl to the phone... even if it turns out to be a joke

Joker: We have SO many friends here, sweetheart. Say hello to Pearl.
Pearl: Oh Buh-bat-bat Bat Ohhh...
Joker: Such a crybaby, isn't she? ["skrit skirtch" noises are heard over the phone]
Gordon: What that noise? Can you hear it? Scratching. What's he doing?
Joker: Pearl is nineteen years old [scratching noises continue] She just started to work here in the kitchens here to earn some extra money. Pearl wants to be an artist, don't you, Pearl, darling?
Pearl: Uh-huh... ohhhh... [scratching noises continue]
Joker: She just drew me a beautiful house. She drew it with this pencil [big scratch noise] The one I've just sharpened. Open you eyes WIDE, Pearl! Beautiful... blue... oh...
Batman: JESUS, NO!
Joker: You have half an hour. And bring a white stick.

    • What is it about the Joker using pencils on eyeballs?
    • The bit where Arkham comes home...the dollhouse...the scariest stuff I have ever seen.

And then I look at the doll's house.
And the doll's house
looks
at
me.

    • The Riddler. Yeah, go on, laugh. Nerdy guy who can't even throw a punch, right? Just leaves stupid clues and makes it easy for Batman to catch him, right? Go read "Dark Knight, Dark City" (Batman #452-#454), which has, among other things, Riddler forcing Batman into slitting a baby's throat.
    • As unbelievable as people find it, the No Man's Land storyline had quite a bit. First, the very premise (Gotham freaking city, mostly destroyed, then cut off from the rest of America, all laws, and all support? While the wackos run free?); add multiple references to Cannibalism, constant moral ambiguity, and the Joker doing classically barbaric Joker-things like kidnapping babies and inciting insane cops to shoot their own, and you have Nightmare Fuel that's near impossible to laugh off.
      • What freaked me out was the whole people wanting to actually stay in the PRISON that was being run by Lockdown. Lockdown has always managed to terrify me ever since I saw the episode where the Scarecrow escaped Arkham just to get away from the guy. Now, if that's not scary, this guy being able to scare the Master of Fear.. then what is?
      • Oh, about Joker's plan to kidnap babies? It's because he wants to kill them all off on New Year's, just to destroy the fragile spirit of the people of Gotham City. And let's not get started on what he does to Commissioner Gordon's wife...
    • One Catwoman arc has Joker tag Catwoman with a pie containing a radioactive tracer, which Joker then uses to play a cat-and-mouse game with her. She's the mouse. He's chasing her with missiles. The scary part isn't that she's being traced, though that too is genuinely terrifying. The scary part is that the missiles aren't aiming for her. They're aiming for all the innocent bystanders, effectively making poor Catwoman a walking danger zone. Catsy said it best herself:

"It's like some kind of childhood nightmare."

    • An alternate version of Two-Face's backstory is presented in Batman: Jekyll and Hyde. Basically, Two Face was, as a child, accidentally responsible (although that may be up for argument) for the death of his older brother Murray. The implication is that said dead brother's spirit is inhabiting Harvey's body, reponsible for the evil side of his personality.
    • Professor Pyg is what would happen if David Lynch created a Batman villain. He's a middle aged man with a pig mask and butcher clothing and he's terrifying. In his first appearance, he has a bunch of Dollotrons (human zombie dolls) hold a criminal accomplice down so Pyg can make him one as well and tells said accomplice that he'll then help Pyg do the same to the man's niece. Then, in the third appearance, he gives a tied Robin (Damian Wayne) a very odd and disturbing Motive Rant that seeps quickly into a Villainous Breakdown... all while dancing with power tools to "sexy hot" disco music. Robin simply responds as he breaks free, "You have just redefined 'wrong'."
      • The Dollotrons themselves are deeply disturbing, being regular people who have unwillingly undergone a process of creation that is not entirely revealed, but is implied to involve brain surgery, genital mutilation, and mind-altering drugs. They are also given a fleshy doll-like mask which is permanently attached to the victim's face.
    • Batman's code against killing suddenly becomes terrifying:

Young Miscreant: I'll blow her head off! I swear I will!
Batman: ...And I swear that if you harm that woman at all, I'll make you pay! I will break and twist things within you. You can't conceive of the pain I can cause. It's pain that will go on forever. You won't escape it... BECAUSE I WON'T LET YOU DIE.

    • In Scott Snyder's run on the 2011 reboot of Batman, we're introduced to an Ancient Conspiracy in Gotham. One who knows Gotham better than Batman. This, in of itself, isn't particularly terrifying. However, the more Batman investigates, the more he discovers just how powerful they are. And then they capture Batman himself, drug him and start to drive him completely insane in an enormous maze beneath Gotham. Seeing someone as cool and collected as Batman raving and terrified is shocking, and pure nightmare fuel.