Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham review
Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham offers a genuinely different experience from a traditional Batman animated experience. Especially for viewers unfamiliar with the 2001 graphic novel from writers Mike Mignolia & Richard Pace and artist Troy Nixey.
Arguably, there’s more traditional Batman stories Knightfall, Contagion and No Man’s Land still waiting in the animated adaptation queue that probably shouldn’t get cut in the line for an Elseworlds tale. On the plus side there’s no questions how the film fits into the still TBD sorta connected current DC Animated films continuity.
The Doom That Came to Gotham is a Lovecraftian horror story. This doesn’t impact the powerless Batman as much it would some other DC icons. It also helps the more bizarre and monstrous elements have more impact since Batman can’t just fly a monster off to the sun.
Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli, Batman: Soul of the Dragon) has been traveling the globe for 20 years with his younger assistants and butler Alfred (Brian George, Batman: The Killing Joke). His assistants aren’t Robins yet they’re all familiar with Dick Grayson (Jason Marsden), Sanjay Tawde (Karan Brar) and Kai Li Chan (Tati Gabrielle, Uncharted).
Bruce’s latest expedition to the Antarctic proves costly as he accidentally awakens a horrifying terror The Lurker at the Threshold. This draws the attention of Ra’s al Ghul (Navid Negahban) and his daughter Talia (Emily O’Brien, Batman: The Enemy Within) who are very interested in harnessing the power.
Screenwriter Jase Rissi adapts the three-issue mini-series tightly so the core elements of the story feel intact while expanding some character roles like the film-stealing Oliver Queen (Christopher Gorham).
Of all the various The Dark Knight Returns influences that are so commonplace now, Green Arrow as a close ally of Batman has been one of the best. Green Arrow proves a memorable addition to the film.
Be on the lookout for what appears to be a subtle cameo from a certain reporter duo from Metropolis.
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Directors Sam Liu (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) handle the horror elements of the story expertly. They opt against jump scares in favor of heightening that uncomfortable time viewers experience as they brace for some ghastly scene and the payoff. The nightmarish takes on characters like Killer Croc, Penguin, Poison Ivy and the especially tragic of Harvey Dent (Patrick Fabian).
It’s always good to see Batman having to put in more detective work to solve a case instead of just relying on an abundance of gadgets to get the upper hand on his enemies. And with these unorthodox foes, Batman has to be more resilient than ever.
The animation style doesn’t have the same rough look as Troy Nixey’s pencils yet it still features different designs than the current era of DC Animated films. Batman’s design more closely resembles that of Mignolia’s cover art.
Liu and Berkeley set up some nice action sequences that look like they have more weight and force to them. Characters react more to physical blows and don’t immediately pop up as if they’re unaffected. In other cases, they’re too injured or hurt to move showing consequences from these battles.
Stefan L. Smith’s dark, haunting score adds another critical element that naturally isn’t an option with the printed version.
Unlike the in-continuity films there’s no post-credit scene.
The Doom That Came to Gotham really feels like a fresher Batman story. With its horror and mystery elements and the underlined detective story backed with creepy visuals and some clever twists on familiar Batman allies and foes, this is another example of why going the adapted route tends to work best for modern DC Animated films.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.