Batman: Gothic
by Grant Morrison, Klaus Janson
(DC Comics, 1992;
originally published in 1990 as
Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10)

Gothic, the second collection from DC's fledgling Legends of the Dark Knight series, stumbles after the inaugural success of Shaman by taking Batman into places even he shouldn't go.

The Batman uses superstition against criminals who are, while frequently mad and strangely garbed, still human. But in Gothic, Batman's foe is a 300-year-old Satanic monk. To make the situation even more unpalatable, we learn that young Bruce Wayne just happened to spend a portion of his youth enrolled at an English-style boarding school with that very same monk -- evil, unkillable and able to murder young boys without consequence -- as headmaster. Of course, the monk immediately recognizes the costumed Batman as the young boy he once menaced.

Worse still, the analytical crimefighter finds himself accepting ghosts, demons and dreams at face value. A key plot twist comes when Batman mistakenly plays a recording of his dead father, somehow mixed up with a collection of regional dialects, and the late Dr. Wayne discusses vacation plans for the very place Batman needs to go to solve the crime. Ugh.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 8 November 2003

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