Batman: Dreamland
Alan Grant &
Norm Breyfogle, writers,
Norm Breyfogle, artist
(DC Comics, 2000)

Agents Mulder and Scully have been trying for years to crack the secrets of the government's involvement with aliens and mind control in their X-Files world.

Batman, in Dreamland, manages to infiltrate Area 51 and expose secret abductions and experiments in a matter of days. Of course, he's Batman -- and, in this case, he has the help of the Kook, a reformed villain who can project solid hallucinations. Given that kind of help, it's not hard to believe that the good guys would win in the end.

Dreamland is a solid, tight story in the X-Files tradition. The writing and artwork are both fine additions to the Batman collection of tales. There's one problem, however. In the DC Universe, where extraterrestrials are fairly commonplace (Superman, Hawkman and Orion are from other planets, and many of Green Lantern's adventures have taken place elsewhere in the galaxy), it's hard to take a story about UFOs and government cover-ups very seriously. Why go to all the trouble of making people believe that ETs might exist when ETs are making the daily news already?

This story would have worked better if it had been set outside the DC continuity -- perhaps as a part of DC's excellent Elseworlds series. As it is, the plot falters by page 2, and it never really recovers its stride.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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