Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Batman is a character that feels tailor-made for horror as seen in 2018’s Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, and that’s once again proven in Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham with a version of the character set in 1920’s Gotham. The plot is adapted from the three-issue run of the same name and tells the story of a Bruce Wayne who is an explorer along with his young wards Sanjay (Karan Brar), Kai Li Cain (Tati Gabrielle) and Dick Grayson (Jason Marsden – not to be mixed up with James “Cyclops” Marsden). They journey to Antarctica to try and find a lost expedition that was led by Professor Cobblepot and they discover most of the team has been killed, Cobblepot is missing and the only survivor is a man named Grendon voiced by DCAU alum David Dastmalchian who most will know from his role as Polka-Dot Man from The Suicide Squad movie.
They return to Gotham with Grendon (who seems to be this story’s version of Mr. Freeze) hoping to figure out what exactly happened to the explorers. But it seems like the Lovecraftian madness that has affected Grendon has also infected Bruce Wayne as he races to stop Talia al Ghul (Emily O’Brien) from bringing about the end of Gotham and, by extension, the end of the world.
When it comes to horror, I can be a bit biased due to my love of the genre, but that aside I thought this was really good. While I enjoyed the colour grading in Gotham by Gaslight a bit more as it truly invoked that story’s era as well as the steampunk vibe it was going for, The Doom That Came to Gotham also looks stellar and the animation as well as the artwork is some of the best seen since DC decided to revamp their animated lineup by giving audiences these standalone stories, each having its own unique look (as opposed to the movies prior and up to Justice League Dark: Apokolips War).
David Giuntoli (Grimm) has only been the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman twice now, but I think he did a great job. Let’s face it, no one is going to replace Kevin Conroy, but Guintoli does a formidable job and balances the humanity of Bruce with the stoic, stringent nature of Batman by delivering a voice that resonates.
The rest of the cast fair very well with Dastmalchian’s Grendon, Tati Gabrielle’s Cain and Brian George as Alfred all standing out among the crowd. Special shoutout to Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, The Lincoln Lawyer) as the perpetually drunk but loveable Oliver Queen. Outside of the Arrow television series this was one of the best versions of Queen I’ve ever seen.
The story is a twist of Lovecraft meets gothic and I enjoyed the supernatural take on the origins of Gotham which made me think of John Carpenter’s The Fog. For anyone who’s seen that movie you’ll know the creation of that town held a dark secret and so does Gotham’s origins which ties into all the head families and how they came about their power and wealth.
Overall, Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham has a solid premise set to a tight pace that never lets up, with fresh takes on both Batman’s allies and adversaries, and artwork that makes it stand out from the crowd of animated DC films that exist. It’s adult themes (and actual life and death consequences) coupled with smart narrative choices makes this worth seeing. And as Batman stories go it deserves to sit up high with some of the best we’ve got from this medium thus far.
Score: 7 out of 10
And you can check out more animated adventures with the Caped Crusader below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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