Today: February 28, 2024

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight

For the last ten years, Warner Brothers have been adapting some of the very best graphic novels and comic runs into animated features which could teach Marvel a thing or two about story-telling. Issued under the label DC Animated Universe, there have so-far been 27 features taking in iconic storylines such as the death of Superman, Batman: Year One, and Batman: Killing Joke.

While they’re obviously done on a budget, what sets these features apart from the usual superhero fare are their adult – and occasionally daring – themes. You won’t find major character dying in the MCU. And, while Marvel are currently embracing the idea of R-rated films, DC Animations have always come with a PH-13 or above certificate,  allowing for grittier dialogue and action. All of which is entirely fitting when you consider that many of the comics being adopted are over 30-years-old.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is based on the one-shot ‘Elsewhere’ comic written by Brian Augustyn with art by a pre-Hellboy Mike Mignola. Elsewhere comics take DC heroes out of their usual setting a place them in alternate timelines or realities. In this case, the Elsewhere is Victorian New York, with Batman facing-off against the ultimate villain – Jack the Ripper. As you would expect the result is, at times, unsettling, though never gratuitous.

While it’s true that period misogyny hangs heavily over the production, a kick-ass whip-wielding Selina Kyle more than redresses the balance. The art is beautifully steampunk. And there’s enough of Batman the Detective here to satisfy most bat-fans. It’s a minor niggle that the story bears little resemblance to the source material, but Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is never-the-less a class production and a worthy addition to any DC collection.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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