The Insidious series has always embraced different horror traditions with open arms: its mythology blends the spectral and the demonic; jump scares are valued just as much as more subtle effects, like a macabre image hidden in plain-sight. That willingness to combine traditions has allowed its creators to put a new spin on the haunted house, one of the most used horror tropes. Insidious: Chapter 3 is a slight departure for the series in terms of continuity, taking place before the haunting of the Lambert family and the traumatic events of the first two films. But that hungry approach to horror – an evident love of both high and low traditions – remains firmly in place, and with its stripped-back story, it’s arguably the most focussed film in the series to date.
If this comic has any one problem, it’s that it tries to do too much. The mythology driving Mortal Kombat is incredibly complex. There are dozens of characters and numerous factions all jockeying for attention. This comic admirably tries to give each character their due, but too often it falls short.
That flaw is readily apparent in issue #7, whose three chapters offer a mish-mash of storylines. Kotal Kahn’s war with Kintaro and his armies is a central focus, but the chapters frequently shift away to reconnect with Jax and Sonya, Raiden, Scorpion, Mileena and various other familiar faces. There’s frustratingly little focus to the story. And it’s a shame, because sometimes the storytelling is pretty sound. The opening chapter devotes much of its pages to Kotal’s generals, exploring how each came into his service and where their unwavering loyalty stems from. These interludes are interesting, but generally too brief.
DC’s Arkham Knight comic stands out less because of its connection to the video game series and more because of the compelling stories it offers featuring a wide range of Gotham characters.The fifth issue is no exception, combining a major showdown between Batman and Bane with more grounded drama as Bruce Wayne continues his quest to pull his city kicking and screaming from the shadows.
The first chapter included in this issue focuses mainly on non-costumed characters, as Bruce and Barbara Gordon try to convince Commissioner Gordon to pursue a political career. That’s a story I’d be thrilled to read in a normal Batman comic. The idea that Gordon is the only public figure the people of Gotham actually trust makes sense. Whether the comic will be able to give this story thread the focus it deserves remains to be seen, but this chapter makes for a good start. It’s also a treat to see Barbara given the spotlight as Oracle again.