Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where the spooky season continues with Mike Grell’s Elseworlds classic Batman: Masque!
How’s It Different?
This would be classed as an Imaginary Story, casting Batman characters in the Phantom of the Opera.
What’s The Story?
Gotham City, 1890: Young ballerina Laura Avian’s first major performance is interrupted when the masked crimefighter called The Batman chases a criminal into the opera house, inadvertently causing the stage costume of the show’s star, Harvey Dent, to catch fire and horrifically scar him.
Laura begins a romance with millionaire ballet patron Bruce Wayne, and soon large bouquets of flowers from an anonymous admirer start showing up in her dressing room. Then, mysterious accidents start injuring (or worse) those standing between Laura and the lead role in the ballet…and Batman begins following her.
Best of Differences
- The role of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera is split between Batman and Two-Face in this story:
- Two-Face takes on the role of the disfigured, murderous admirer and mentor of the ingenue.
- Batman is the masked admirer who ultimately realizes that his life in a bizarre underground lair is not one he can share with his love.
- Two-Face is born when Harvey’s cape grazes a stagelight and goes up like a tinderbox. While he was turning to look at Batman’s dynamic entrance into the theater, that really seems like a disaster just waiting to happen.
- Mike Grell’s design for Batman in this is one of the best Elseworlds designs the character’s ever had. Not story related, but worth noting.