Arkham Asylum: Living Hell (Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #1)

Publisher: DC Comics
Language: English
Date: 2003
Number of pages: 25
Format: CBR

Stock broker Warren White is the worst person you've ever met. After committing the greatest act of stock fraud in American history, stealing thousands of retirement funds and insurance policies, and netting himself billions which he has in hidden funds all over the world, he is finally standing trial for his crimes. Not planning on going to real jail, but a cushy institution, he has successfully convinced the jury of his insanity, using the defense "My Bad." What White doesn't know is, in Gotham, where the trial is held, you're probably better off guilty than insane.

After being taken to Arkham Asylum, White quickly realizes that he will not be having the imagined joyride. Due to tax cutbacks (which are arguably his own fault), White is forced to share a cell with serial killer "Death Rattle," who won't even let him use the bed because he believes it's being slept in by a young girl he murdered several months ago. White tries to go to sleep as the other inmates chant his new nickname, "Fish," at him over and over again from their cells. Warren does find some hope in his psychiatrist, Dr. Anne Carver, who believes him that he isn't crazy, and that she can get him transferred somewhere else. The view of Arkham Asylum from an employee's perspective is seen through her eyes. She finds herself unable to be part of any relationships, unable to keep to the healthy life of a normal person like she wishes she could be, and unable to even garner respect for what she does in others. Despite the difficulty of her job, and the pain it brings her everyday, she receives only criticism from people like Commissioner Gordon who demand to know why nobody in Arkham is ever cured, but they're still released like clockwork. Upon his release, Doodlebug paints a massive mural on a town landmark stating "Gone 2 Arkham, Back After Lunch." During this time, White is sexually abused by Death Rattle, almost shanked by Two-Face, and has a terrifying confrontation with The Joker in the showers. Also, Killer Croc, as a joke, believing the "Fish" should have his own set of "gills," brutally slashes him across the face, scarring him.

Before having him transferred, Dr. Carver does make a large request of Mr. White. She asks him for $20 million dollars, because although he's a billionaire and that kind of money is "a drop in the bucket to him," it could mean a new life for her. A happy life. And after he makes the call to have the money transferred (which she records with a tape recorder), announces her intentions to make love to Warren. Just then, Batman bursts through the window and knocks a shiv out of Dr. Carver's hand. It is revealed that actually, it had never been Dr. Carver at all, but serial killer Jane Doe, who had taken over her identity and was next planning on taking over White's. Amidst mild confusion, when White actually stumbles upon the hidden skull of the real Dr. Carver by smell, Jane Doe manages to pull a gun on Batman. Also, two Arkham guards burst into the room, and Batman tells them not to make any sudden moves.

Batman asks Jane, who is obsessed with taking the identities of others, if what she really wants is to take his identity as the Batman. He speculates that she took Dr. Carver's identity because she thought her life would be better on the other side of the psychiatrists' couch. But it wasn't. As a psychiatrist, she was forced to look into the madness of Arkham, like the abyss that stares back at you everyday. As Batman, she would have to fight it every night. And she could never win. Jane breaks down crying, and is taken back to her cell by the other guards. His ticket back into the real world gone, Warren White laments.

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