Sounds like a delicious combination does it not? A dark and gothic noir Batman in a loveletter to Lovecraft. And those Mike Mignola covers are enticing!
Well what a let down Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is.
I was fairly ambivalent to the writing’s mediocrity, but the artwork is infuriating. Well I was furious because I could probably render faces better than this book’s depictions, yet these professionals were paid to draw the hallowed Batman.
Not the face!
I mean look at this monstrosity. That’s not a Lovecraftian homage, that’s meant to be Bruce Wayne.
Is this a homage to Lovecraft or the Bayeux Tapestry?
A heartbreaking disappointment. It made me sad.
I just couldn’t get past how bad the artwork was and I’d given up reading it after a few pages. I had been so excited when the book arrived in the post and couldn’t wait to read another Batman book. The reviews for it were ok and nothing hinted at this being a disastrous pick. I had to force myself to finish reading it.
Although I don’t hate the book, I don’t like it in the slightest bit.
Who’re you calling ugly?
Tom didn’t hate it either but liked it far more than I did. He described it as, rather charitably in my opinion, “nicely ugly”. I don’t know if he meant the faces.
He noted that Ra’s Al Ghul’s portrayal as a bearded, ancient immortal attempting to awaken otherworldy monsters to bring about the destruction of the world was a carbon copy of Grigori Rasputin in volume 1 of Hellboy.
He thought it interesting but not a classic and felt that Cthulhu has been done to death now. Maybe back in 2000 it was a fresher theme.
I like the ugliness.
Laugh out loud
Dan loves a bit of Lovecraft and also felt a bit let down. He thinks that they didn’t have the courage to go full Lovecraftian. Where were the names of Lovecraft’s own monsters? It’s out of copyright surely? And he also thinks that this approach of making a thing with a specific treatment has been done better in Hellboy and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Dan bought Gotham By Gaslight the day it came out and although imperfect it’s a damn sight better than this.
Dan liked the backstory of Gotham but felt that the creators realised too late that it’s far more interesting. Maybe this and Thomas Wayne’s history having an impact in modern Gotham inspired Scott Snyder today on his seminal Batman run?
He also enjoyed the interesting take on Harvey Dent where you felt rather sorry for his plight. He is cursed by what appears to be Poison Ivy. Half of his body explodes into a mutated grotesque mass. The acid in the face thing is a bit hard to swallow after all. He never got to be the villain that he’s meant to be.
For me the tragedy and empathy is brief and I’m used to seeing the best depiction of Harvey through Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s version in The Animated Series. They were the first to make you sympathise with the character, although they hinted that the destructive monster was always within him. A theme that Frank Miller first introduced in The Dark Knight Returns when Harvey is finally “cured”.
Dan also made clear that he hates Jack Kirby’s demon Etrigan. He hates the yellow face and the pixie boots.
When Dan finally got round to critiquing it, he said “the art is complete dick”. His “favourite” panel was the lack of depth or perspective in the pic of the policeman stood behind Gordon.
“Why didn’t they get slapped and told to redraw?” Why indeed Dan. Why indeed.
The Mignola covers are lovely, the interior art is guff. I found it laughable. The star is for Harvey Dent.
I wish I had a wine cellar
Jake was also unimpressed. He did however pick out a few gems such as his favourite representation of Oracle.
She’s a far cry from the feisty red head on a kitch motorbike.
He liked the restaging of the Wayne murders and the use of the belfry instead of the cave as Batman’s lair. With regards to the cave Jake thought it humourous when Bruce Wayne scolds Alfred: “Don’t call it a wine cellar!”
Jake normally enjoys Elseworlds stories. He’d brought along copies of Gotham By Gaslight and Batman Year 100 (which I wish I’d picked instead but Jake and Tom have read it). He likes how characters are deployed into a story from something else. But he also thought the faces were awful, as he’d said “it’s great when you can’t see the faces”.
Jake enjoyed that the Robins were killed off. Dan also made a particular comment about how they were indistinguishable from each other and lacked any stature. We all thought they were completely throwaway.
The story was too weak to succeed as a Lovecraftian tale. It could’ve done with more body horror (like Harvey). The worst thing for Jake was Bruce’s character. The creators had removed his origin - his essence - but replaced it with nothing. He was completely cardboard. What had Bruce Wayne been doing on a boat for 20 years???
Lovecraft has to be good to work. This is far from well written.
Well we pretty clearly didn’t like this much. I want to make up for this by buying myself Paul Pope’s Batman Year 100 and forget about The Doom That Came To Gotham. But before we end here’s a reminder of what could have been…