1474: Arkham Asylum – Chapter FivePosted: July 17, 2016
Title: Arkham Asylum
URL: Chapter Five
Critiqued by BatJamags
Gary Stu count: 11
Running the Asylum count: 15
Out of Character count: 13
Hello once again, patrons! I’m your guest host (you know the drill by this point) BatJamags, and welcome back to Arkham Asylum, by hathanhate.
Why do I continue to subject myself to this? Well, there’s a perfectly logical explanation.
Last time, on Arkham Asylum: The Joker beat the shit out of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy was just all “Meh. OK.” I flipped out because of how out-of-character that was (Not to mention the TRIVIALIZATION OF ABUSE, but I guess that’s not the issue because the author is pretending he’s against it, right? God, I hate this story.), and the author was all BATMAN AND TEH JOKER ARE IN TWU WUV AND HARLEY IS EVIL FOR STANDING BETWEEN THEM and I was all NOPE NOPE NOPE.
So anyway, let’s get started. No author’s note to helpfully point out that this is chapter 5, so at least the DRD won’t get summoned on me.
Lamb looked on curiously
And we’re off to a bad start. Lamb’s POV, folks. This can’t end well.
as the pretty plant lady stuck a needle into his arm.
Is this author just looking for excuses not to call Ivy by her name?
It was filled with a white liquid that had a yellowish tinge to it. It didn’t hurt. He was far too desensitized to pain for it to affect him, but he was curious about it. He wondered what was in the syringe as the substance filled his veins.
Don’t do drugs, kids. Especially not ones given to you by an out-of-character eco-terrorist with superpowers.
He wasn’t worried though. The laughing man didn’t seem worried. The wonderful laughing man who had taken him from the cold place with white walls and bars. Who had cleaned him and cut his hair.
Waitwaitwaitwait. I thought this was the guy who didn’t want his hair cut.
Author, can you make an attempt to care?
Who had given him a name.
It was a beautiful thing.
Actually, it’s a rather stupid name, to be perfectly honest.
He had never had a name before. Not that he could ever remember anyways. It was so nice to have a name though. A thing that was his and his only that no one could ever take away from him.
His thoughts made him smile warmly at the laughing man; grotesque as the sight was when marred by the rough black threads.
But he would not think of those.
Never think of those.
You just did, nimrod.
The laughing man didn’t know the reason for his smile, but he smiled back all the same. It was beautiful to Lamb. Wide and red, and stretched farther than it should he at the sides by thick scars, with too many teeth showing that were tinged yellow. He knew others would not find it beautiful. But he did. To him the laughing man was beautiful. Even with his frightening countenance and the make-up.
It’s not makeup, it’s bleached. Like the brain bleach I dunk my head in whenever I remember that Batman/Joker (or anyone/Joker) is a ship that people like.
Even with the way he would go so quickly from kind words mixed with crazed giggles and gentle fingers to dark looks and a rough animal voice mixed with harsh fists.
Well, that’s not creepy at all. Mostly because he’s described as having an animal’s voice, so I’m now imagining the Joker roaring like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.
What? “Terrifying” and “creepy” are technically different concepts.
Fists that had not been used on him, but only so far on the red and black woman who made something under Lamb’s skin crawl. There was something there that reminded him. Reminded him of where the thread came from. Reminded him of the one who stole his voice away.
But he would not think about that.
Never think about that.
Oh, dammit, you are going to go all Subject 23 on me, aren’t you?
Still. The laughing man was beautiful. He was beautiful because he was kind to Lamb.
Which still makes no sense.
Out of Character count: 14
Because he was cruel, but never to Lamb.
Which also makes no sense, but for a different reason. This makes it sound like the cruelty is the beautiful part, not the fact that it’s not toward Lamb Chop Stu.
He was beautiful because he had saved Lamb. Saved him from the place with too many doctors and bright lights and nights when…
No, he wouldn’t think about that either.
Never think about that.
Fic, did you just try to indicate what I think you just tried to indicate?
Running the Asylum count: 16
It’s amazing how so much of this story has taken place away from Arkham, yet Running the Asylum is still leading Gary Stu by five points. Those doctors really suck at their jobs.
He was beautiful because he saved Lamb and only asked in return that he may cut the hair that hid him and his threads from the world. That he drink nice tea that brought muddled memories of a place with warm people and many smiles and sweet, kind words to Lamb’s mind. That he let the pretty plant lady stick him with needles that she said would make him stronger so that he wouldn’t shake.
Such small prices to pay for this freedom.
Prices Lamb would pay willingly.
Because it was the laughing man who saved him, and the laughing man who asked these prices of him.
If only to make the laughing man smile at him, smiles that held no pity like the doctors, and no hate like the one who gave him the threads…
If only for those smiles, he would pay any price the laughing man asked of him.
OH SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.
Lousy goddamn stupid story can’t even shut up at the line breaks.
Pamela Isley was a very intelligent woman.
Not in this fic.
Long before she abandoned her true name and became Poison Ivy, she was intelligent enough to make an opinion on a person only minutes after meeting them.
Dammit, Jim, she’s a botanist, not a doctor!
Out of Character count: 15
There were some, of course, who it took her longer to gain a proper judgment of. But she managed it all the same.
Somehow. Even though that’s not remotely what she’s trained or licensed for.
Harley, for instance, was a very sweet girl with an unfortunate bout of insanity mixed with an entirely unhealthy obsession with the Joker.
Oh, and now she’s a fucking psychiatrist. I just give up on trying to pin down what this Ivy’s skill set is.
Also, it seems like hinted parings are only valid if they’re Batman/Joker BCUZ DEY HAV TWU WUV 5EVER.
The Joker himself was less a man and more a force of nature. He was unstoppable, uncontrollable, and without any real purpose except to cause chaos. He could not be stopped, not truly, only contained.
*Jaw drops* Ivy’s still playing psychiatrist, but… there’s actually a paragraph in this fic that I don’t take exception to. This is kind of a subjective assessment, but it fits how I’d describe the Joker.
This new one though… Lamb, as Joker had called him, was odd. He seemed so very much like a child. There was a profound sense of innocence that clung to him, almost as though he had gone through life without experiencing any of the world’s horrors.
HOW CAN YOU TELL?! YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH HIM EVEN IF YOU WERE LICENSED TO DO THIS SHIT!
Gary Stu count: 12
And yet his lips were sewn shut by someone, and he could watch as the Joker knocked Harley around without batting an eye. That alone made it clear that he was… Unbalanced. Yet he wasn’t dangerous. In his current physical state he was more likely to hurt himself than anyone else, and even if he was healed…
I get it.
I really do.
Lamb Chop Stu is trajek and innocent and deep and harmless.
So fucking stop telling me.
Damn, I normally don’t swear this much. This fic is bringing out the worst in me.
With those wide, childlike eyes, and those soft smiles, she couldn’t see him hurting anyone. He was far from sane, but he was also harmless. Which of course begged the question as to what the Joker wanted with him? After all, the Joker didn’t typically bother with others unless they were of some sort of use to him. But Lamb was not of any true use. He was, sweet though he may be, worthless to the Joker.
Gary Stu count: 13
Yet he had captured the clown prince of crime’s interest, and thus had become a possession of the man. Property, like a slave or pet, in much the same way that Harley was.
I shouldn’t have summarized what’s happened so far at the top, because the fic is doing it for me.
It was confusing, but Pamela had long since given up trying to understand the Joker.
Good, because that’s not her goddamn job.
So rather than question it, she simply did as was asked of her and put together a simple nutritional serum to keep the Joker’s new pet alive. She would go out and get some things he could eat through the thread as well. Simple things like applesauce and soup, broth and various pastes.
Once again, I’ll stress that Poison Ivy doesn’t actually like the Joker all that much in canon. May have something to do with the whole “physically, mentally, and emotionally abuses Ivy’s maybe-girlfriend” thing.
She would do what she could to keep this strange child alive, if only so that the Joker would not kill her for her failure.
This story is really not giving Ivy much credit. The Joker’s scary, but Ivy’s powerful. She’d eat him for breakfast (or rather, her plants would).
Out of Character count: 16
It’s too small a sample size to call sexism or some kind of gender-specific homophobia, but the author clearly doesn’t have much respect for Harley and Ivy. They’re not my favorite Batman villains, but they warrant a little more dignity than being the Joker’s mindless lackeys/punching bags.
Besides, the plants seemed to like him, and that alone made him worth her time.
There’s the Ivy I know! Also, this is for the plants liking him:
Gary Stu count: 14
*Melodramatically places hand over heart*
Keep fighting the good fight, lines. God be with you.
The Joker grinned down at his little… minions.
I really don’t want to hear about the Joker’s little minions right now.
They were many enough in number, a lot of them escaped patients of Arkham. Dressed up in normal clothing and faces hidden by four or five types of generic Halloween clown masks. They were pathetic, but they served their purposes, and they were either loyal to him, or terrified of him, enough to do whatever he asked of them.
Where did he find them? Did he bring them when he escaped this time? Did he hire them? Did they come looking for him? If that, how did they find him? Where are we? Are we near the shoe factory’s portal into the Formless Void, or have we ventured deeper than that? SETTING, AUTHOR!
“I, ah, need… A doctor.”
That is a really awkward sentence that does not sound like something the Joker would say.
There was muttering. One brave soul spoke out: “Are you sick boss?” Said soul met Lady Death with a bang from Joker’s gun. He giggled delightedly to himself.
Dialogue. Goes. On. A. Separate. Line.
“Ah, no. Doc’s not for me. But I do need one. A good one. Find one.” The clowns muttered amongst themselves and shuffled around but otherwise did nothing. The Joker sighed in exacerbation and frowned. He introduced another of them to a bullet from his gun. “NOW.” He snarled.
They must not be very smart if they’re waiting around after a direct order.
I’m also pretty sure that’s the only instance of bolded text in the narration or dialogue in the entire fic. Consistent formatting? What’s that?
They wisely scrambled to leave and run off to do his bidding. Good. They were learning.
Yeah, they sure are better than the last time we saw them! In that they exist now.
He sighed to himself and looked down irritated at the two corpses leaking a pretty red all over his floors. Really. Were good henchmen too much to ask for?
Were previously-established henchmen too much to ask for?
Damn, even the lines are trajek in this fic.
The Joker hummed a pointless tune as he fiddled with Lamb’s hair. Now that it was cut and cleaned it was surprisingly soft. Like rabbit’s fur. Had he ever touched a rabbit? He couldn’t remember.
See, this is what happens when you describe your protagonist as childlike: it gives me really creepy vibes when stuff like this happens.
He had managed to get his little pet to drink a few mouthfuls of chicken broth. He had wanted him to drink more but the male had already begun to look queasy and had looked from him to the broth mournfully; as though he wanted very much to do as Joker wished and was simply unable to. It was the puppy dog eyes that got to him. His little Lamb was simply too cute.
Oh, puppy dog eyes are apparently all it takes to get the Joker to back down. Good to know.
Now he sat behind the little white haired male playing with the soft fur-like hair atop his head as Lamb drew pictures. Harley had found him some paper and pencils when he had made motions with his hands to the effect of writing. She was not all that bright, but she was smart enough not to say a word about the thread on Lamb’s lips again, or to even look in the Joker’s direction then.
Hey, fic, suppose you show us Harley’s perspective on being (mis)treated as an errand girl and otherwise (ab)used?
He had grinned when she brought the paper at the sight of her face. The nose that was off center and nearly black, and the way the purple had creeped around both eyes; the dribble of dried blood escaping a split and swollen bottom lip.
She looked good in purple.
Just going to be the punching bag then? Fuck you too.
They had been here for a couple weeks now and had managed to create a routine of sorts. Joker was not one for routine when it came to his crimes, as he needed to remain unpredictable, but he didn’t mind them within the comfort of his, ah, home.
The Joker does not stand for routines. Ever. Also, why hasn’t he gone on a crime spree yet? Who is this idiot, and what has he done with the Clown Prince of Crime?
Out of Character count: 17
Lamb followed Joker everywhere, often literally clinging to his purple coat. Joker didn’t usually like clingy, but he tolerated it because Lamb knew when to let go and give Joker space to… work… and because he didn’t speak, he was very quiet.
Gary Stu count: 15
They ate breakfast together in the mornings away from Harley, and then he would follow Joker about as he schemed and planned his next crime.
Holy shit, story, would you leave poor Harley alone?
In the afternoons they ate lunch and had tea with Harley and Ivy, and when Joker left to go back to his plans, Lamb stayed behind and Harley went with him. He had to show her some amount of attention after all. It wouldn’t do for her to get too jealous and do something foolish.
Goddamn. We get it, hathanhate. You don’t like Harley Quinn. You can stop telling us now.
He wasn’t sure what Lamb did with Ivy, but he didn’t need to because the male would smile happily up at him, once so widely the wounds of his mouth split open and bled again, when he came back for him in the nights after dinner.
He didn’t need to what? I’m in suspense here!
Dinners themselves were spent just with Harley, while Lamb ate with Ivy, and then afterwards he would drag Lamb off for quiet time.
NOPE NOPE NOPE.
Often the male would draw and Joker would simply stick close, like tonight, though there had been a couple of nights where the Joker told Lamb stories and was rewarded with purple eyes looking at him with awe throughout his tales and then little muffled giggles which sounded warped through the threads.
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Lamb slept in the greenhouse.
That doesn’t seem healthy. Also, why does a shoe factory have a greenhouse?
The author forgot it was a shoe factory, didn’t he?
That or he means the corner of the Formless Void that he called the Pseudo-Greenhouse.
Harley slept… Somewhere…
And Joker slept in a little bed in one of the smaller buildings near the factory. He never allowed anyone to sleep near him. There was no telling who might try to stab him in his sleep.
Like Ivy! For being even more of a tool than usual toward Harley! Harley doesn’t just hang onto the Joker of her own accord, the guy strings her along just enough that she doesn’t have the strength of will to break it off. The Joker’s an asshat like that, not that you’d catch this author acknowledging it.
He smiled down gently at his little Lamb, the picture he was drawing appearing to be of one of Ivy’s flowers. He had chosen to stop questioning the odd protective feelings that reared up when he was near Lamb. He had simply chosen to accept them, as it was not in his nature to care for the WHY behind things.
Two: Gary Stu count: 16
He was pleased to note that even now, Lamb had gained a bit of weight. He was still unhealthily thin, but he looked a little more like a person than a webbed skeleton. Now if his clowns could find a proper doctor they would be set. It was not in Ivy’s expertise to set up things like physical therapy programs to help build up muscle. Much of Lamb’s muscle had been lost through his starvation. It was why he was so very weak.
His legs had grown stronger from following Joker around, but his arms still shook when he lifted anything or even tried to hold them above his head.
I GET IT! Your Stu is enduring TRAJEK SUFFERING! Just STOP!
He wanted his Lamb to be strong and healthy. He wanted him well. Then he wanted him trained. Trained to protect himself. He could not always be around, and he would not have his pet be helpless when he was gone. He wanted him able to defend himself at the very least.
Oh for the love of god! I’ve mostly been using the counter to express this, so let me say it again: THE JOKER SHOULDN’T GIVE A SHIT.
Out of Character count: 18
Gary Stu count: 17
Hmm… Speaking of not being around…
It was about time he played with the bat wasn’t it?
Wait, you mean something’s actually going to happen?
NOT ANYMORE! SOMETHING’S ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN! C’MON LINES, LET’S CELEBRATE!
I have no comments on this chapter for whatever reason. I may or may not have tried tequila today so I may or may not be sober…
I plead the fifth my friends. I plead the fifth.
In the American Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment grants people the right against self-incrimination.
And yes, this story is downright criminal.
*Storms out door*
Gary Stu count: 17
Running the Asylum count: 16
Out of Character count: 18