Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we put Batman in a genre he rarely visits, Lovecraftian cosmic horror, in Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham!
How’s It Different?
It’s an Imaginary Story, utterly divorced from anything more than cosmetically familiar from the mainstream DCU.
What’s The Story?
Bruce Wayne and his crew (Alfred Pennyworth, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake) investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Cobblepot Antarctic expedition and find only one “survivor” – a walking corpse who requires refrigeration to exist. This sets off a series of events that will expose a conspiracy dating to Gotham City’s founding and lead Bruce to realms beyond reality, beyond understanding.
Best of Differences
- Usually, alternate realities that burn though characters like tissue paper are somewhat unsatisfying, but the single-minded setting (every antagonist, major or minor, is related to the plot to resurrect the old ones) and the horror mood makes it work.
- Writer Mike Mignola, of Hellboy (which also draws heavily on Lovecraft) fame, does an excellent job weaving iconic Batman villains like Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Dr. Phosphorus, Two-Face, and the al-Ghuls into a Lovecraftian mythos. Batman’s body-horror tinged and nigh-immortal enemies work rather well as agents of a cosmic horror.
- Mignola also makes excellent use of Oliver Queen and Etrigan as other “heroes” that exist in this universe. Ollie is a friend of Bruce’s that wrongly believes he, not Bruce, is the chosen one that beat Ra’s al-Ghul and his horrific masters while Etrigan is…a heroic demon who gives Bruce some guidance. Both echo mainstream versions of the characters, and prove satisfying.
- Barbara Gordon’s then-contemporary alias of Oracle has rarely been taken more literally than it is here.
Come Back Next Week for Another Installment of Tokusatsu Gesundheit!