Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham


By Mike Mignola, Richard Pace, Troy Nixey, Dennis Janke & Dave Stewart (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-4012-5806-1 (TPB)

The origins of the Dark Knight are so well-known now that it’s simple to twist and tweak them to suit almost any tale. It doesn’t hurt that the character has a universal recognition factor that holds up in almost any imaginary scenario…

Released in 2015, available in trade paperback and digital formats and collecting the 3-issue Elseworlds miniseries (from November 2000 – January 2001), The Doom That Came to Gotham was written by horror moodmeister Mike Mignola (Hellboy; duh!) and Richard Pace (Negative Burn; Ashes; Imaginary fiends) with art from Troy Nixey (Harley Quinn; Trout; Only the End of the World Again), inker Dennis Janke & colourist & Dave Stewart.

In case you came in late: During the 1990s, DC regrouped and rebranded its frequent dalliances with alternate reality scenarios under the copious and broad umbrella of a separate imprint. The Elseworlds banner and credo declared that heroes would be taken out of their usual settings and put into strange places and times – some that have existed, or might have existed, and others that can’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t exist…

No doubts here, however, as the tale deftly takes us back to Roaring Twenties America, dishing out a daring dose of pulp fiction plumb centre in the ghastly spine-chilling mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and their darkly-demented contemporaries…

It’s 1928 and orphaned Bruce Wayne is returning to Gotham City two decades after his parents were murdered by a maniac. He’s been roving the world, and recently uncovered the fate of long-lost Professor Cobblepot’s Antarctic expedition. That resulted in a clash with a naked madman who talked to penguins and a large slab of ice with a creature inside it: a thing that never evolved on this world…

By the time he and his close associates Alfred, Dick, Jason and the rest have docked in his bleak and daunting home town, they have all had more than enough of the vile dreams the thing in the hold has generated…

There are more surprises when he reaches his long-closed mansion: a dead man who somehow speaks and a mysterious stranger named Jason Blood who has been sent to deliver a dire warning. Turning into an actual demon the visitor warns that to save Gotham, Bruce must cut out its heart…

Although shocked, Bruce is ready to act, and dons the strange uniform that makes him look like a human bat…

And thus begins a skilful, macabre pastiche as the desperate driven mystery man haunts the alleys and byways of the city, testing corrupt cops, self-serving officials and outright villains – all with names most comics fans will recognise – uncovering a long-suppressed, centuries-old secret even as literal Things From Beyond human comprehension and the borders of time and space congregate.

Can even a heroic Bat Man triumph against such odds and if so, at what cost…?

Complementing the eldritch epic is a full cover gallery by Mignola and a hefty sketches and design section, featuring pencilled pages by Pace (originally slated to illustrate the tale) and layouts by Nixey.

Bold, compelling, potently stylish and chilling in all the right places, The Doom That Came to Gotham is a supernatural romp to delight and impress: once read and never forgotten…
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