The latest Warner Animated DC feature film adapts the 2000-2001 Elseworlds miniseries Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham. The fun of the Elseworlds comics, and soon the live-action versions under the new artistic regime, is taking the familiar and imagining them in other times and other places. Here, we do back to the early 20th century and overlay it with a dose of Loftcraftian horror.
Cowritten by Mike Mignola and Richard Pace, two men better known for their artistic skills, this story was designed for visual impact, something Troy Nixey did well in print, and the animators from Jase Ricci’s script and co-directed by Sam Liu and Christopher Berkeley, replicate nicely.
Basically, an arctic expedition headed by Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli), sent to check on a previous team led by Professor Oswald Cobblepot (William Salyers) reveals horrors and a missing professor. The only surviving is Grendon (David Dastmalchian), but there’s something definitely off about him, so of course, they bring him back to Gotham City.
There’s a mystery to be solved, so the millionaire adventurer dons his cape and cowl and, accompanied by Kai Li Cain (Tati Gabrielle), Dick Grayson (Jason Marsden), Sanjay Tawde (Karan Brar), and Alfred Pennyworth (Brian George), he goes on the hunt.
Complicating matters, she tends to, is Talia al-Ghul (Emily O’Brien), seeking a way to resurrect her deadly father, who was responsible for Thomas and Martha Wayne’s death two decades earlier. Toss in Oliver Queen (Christopher Gorham), James Gordon (John DiMaggio), Lucius Fox (Tim Russ), Harvey Dent (Patrick Fabian), Barbara Gordon (Gideon Adlon), stir in a dash of demon, place on a low heat and let things simmer.
If anything, the leisurely pacing of the story hurts it as does a less than clear narrative, so you’re not as fully engaged in the goings-on as one should be. It’s pleasant enough, but the makings of a much stronger, scarier story are not used to their best potential.’
The film is available in the now-standard 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital HD code combo pack. The 4K 2160p transfer is strong, nicely capturing the animated look and color palette. Given the appropriately unique look to this horror take on the DCU, they do a creditable job. The same can be said of the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track.
As for the Special Features, you get a fine Audio Commentary with Liu, Ricci, DC creative director Mike Carlin, and producer Jim Krieg. Additionally, there is Batman: Shadows of Gotham (13:12) and From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series: “The Demon’s Quest” Part One (22:18) and Part Two (22:14) [Only on the Blu-ray].