- The way that the book is drawn so loose, shadowy, and surreal.
- The scene where Amadeus Arkham found the mutilated bodies of his daughter and wife in an upstairs room, who were murdered and raped by the Serial Killer Martin "Mad Dog" Hawkins. Arkham found the head of his daughter inside her Doll House.
And then I look at the doll's house.
- What makes it worse is that afterward, Arkham ate their bodies.
And the doll's house
- The portrayal of villains like the Joker and Clayface, who in this comic appears as a naked man whose skin is literally wasting away and who wants to "share" his disease.
- The Joker looks absolutely terrifying in this story. If you don't plan on sleeping tonight, see him for yourself◊.
- As often is, 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 among the most terrifying ways the Joker is drawn ever. 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.
- 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 your eyes WIDE, Pearl! Beautiful... blue... oh...
Batman: JESUS, NO!
Joker: You have half an hour. And bring a white stick.
- In case you didn't get the joke; Pearl is completely fine by the time Batman and Gordon get there. Joker just wanted to fuck with them because that's exactly something the Joker would do under normal circumstances, but it's April Fools, so Pearl gets a pass...
- And his follow-up "joke" about a new father going to see his wife and baby in the hospital.
- 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.
- Clayface gets some horrifically creepy moments."Batman... My skin is sick..."
- The scene where Batman breaks Clayface's leg when he tries to "share his disease" with him.
- At the beginning of the story, a young Amadeus Arkham brings his mother's dinner. The old lady responds, "I've eaten," as beetles fall out of her mouth.Amadeus: "It was at that moment that I realized... I was completely alone."
- Mommy's dead. Daddy's dead. Brucie's dead.
- The scene where Batman fights Killer Croc and the conclusion where he is forced to impale Croc with a pipe to drive him back is extremely intense and very disturbing. It's easily one of the most visceral scenes in the book, which is really saying something.
- The incredibly disturbing version of The Scarecrow, who drags a pitchfork along a hallway with convulsive movement as Batman observes from the shadows. This version isn't portrayed as a fear obsessed scientist either, but as Morrison himself observes, instead represents the creeping horror a scarecrow awakens in human.
- Maxie Zeus is a madman with severe messiah complex and electrophilia, based on the insane Earl from The Ruling Class. When Batman finds him, he is hooked up to an electroshock machine, continuously feeding off the electric current. He also suffers from coprophilia, hinting that an oak bucket contains his own fecal matter that he thinks will bring life to the barren Earth.Zeus: Ah. A pilgrim. Come into my presence, pilgrim. Case upon thy lord, thy God.Guard: More. Please. Do it again.Zeus: Zeus. Arrenthoplous. Part Man. Part Woman. Electricity Enflames My Brain. Current. Voltage...
- Dr. Destiny is no longer a creepy but somewhat cartoonish man in a cloak and a skull face. He is an emaciated, withered man trapped in a wheelchair. It's implied that he still possesses his terrifying dream powers as well.
- The implication that Gotham City, Arkham Asylum and all its inhabitants may be in some sort of stable time loop, and that Batman may be the bat spectre that drove Arkham's mother, and eventually Arkham himself, insane. The Bat creates Arkham, Arkham creates Gotham, Gotham creates Batman, and so it goes...
- In the climax of the book, Dr. Cavendish has Batman by the throat, screaming "MOMMY'S BOY! MOMMY'S BOY!" This, coupled with the hell Batman has been throughout throughout the book, totally breaks the Dark Knight—he's completely helpless (ultimately, Dr. Adams kills Cavendish with a razor). There's something horrifying about seeing Batman—an archetype of The Stoic and someone who would later fight a successful battle against Superman himself—so utterly broken that he can't fight back against a skinny nutcase, something Morrison acknowledges in his script. Batman—Batman—nearly died. That's terrifying.
- The postscript from an incredibly minor character, read in context of the whole book, is incredibly frightening: Dr. Milo's gotten through his insanity (shortly before the graphic novel was made, Dr. Milo had been exposed to an insanity-inducing gas in the regular comics, and was remanded to Arkham because of it), but nobody believes him.
- The way that Mad Hatter is hinted at being a pedophile.Hatter: God help us. God held us all...
- One of the most morbid portrayals of Two-Face is this comic. 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.
- The twisted flashbacks of asylum founder Amadeus Arkham; who had to slit his own insane and sick mother's throat; and eventually goes insane himself.
- "Oh Daddy, he's hurting me the dog's hurting me!" Gets worse when you realize who is saying it and why.
- The whole fight scene between Batman and Killer Croc in general. With Amadeus Arkham's dialogue fueling the scene it makes it all the more stoic and surreal. And the primal, blood lusting, reptilian appearance of Killer Croc and those blood red eyes... *shudder* And it nearly becomes a dead end No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for Batman until he regained, challenged and impaled Croc with a statue's spear.
Nightmare Fuel / Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth