Arkham’s most famous recurring inmate acts as raconteur for these five standalone tales of madness. The premise is ingenious: five stories featuring villains dubbed Gotham’s most dangerously insane, which instead show them as byproducts of the world we live in, perhaps even the sanest of us all driven to act in extreme ways.

The first two entries are truly stellar, making up for an uneven second half. The Joker’s tale skewers the exploitative media conglomerates, while the Penguin is given more depth and empathy than any time previous. Poison Ivy is depicted as an avenging angel for Mother Earth in a second-tier installment. Two Face and Scarecrow also appear.

Grade: A-

Batman: Joker’s Asylum is currently available.