GRAPHIC NOVEL
Batman
Gotham by Gaslight

Author: Brian Augustyn
Artists: Michael Mignola and Eduardo Barreto
Titan Books
RRP: 7.99, US $12.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6403 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 403 X
Available 20 October 2006


In an age of mystery and superstition, how would the people of Gotham react to a weird creature of the night, a bat-garbed vigilante feared by the guilty and the innocent alike? Some would live in terror. Others would rest easier. Only one man would take no notice at all... a man with other matters to attend to. His name? No one knows for sure. Most people know him only as Jack. Jack the Ripper...

Gotham by Gaslight reprints two alternate universe Batman tales set during the reign of Queen Victoria. First up is Gotham by Gaslight, which is set during the time of the Jack the Ripper killings, followed by Master of the Future.

While Gotham by Gaslight is a pretty entertaining read, it's not very hard to work out who the murderer is - not that it really matters, as this is not a whodunit. It also showcases illustrations by a young Michael Mignola, who would go on to create Hellboy under the name Mike Mignola.

The second tale, Master of the Future, is a rather dry affair. The plot revolves around a mysterious villain who lives in the sky (on board a large airship). Actually the basic idea for this story is not dissimilar to the animated feature film Steamboy - in that the writer has written this tale from the point of view of someone living in the reign of Queen Victoria and imagining what a possible future would look like by upgrading the technology available from that time period. It's an interesting idea, but I couldn't help feeling that it was an opportunity wasted.

If you don't already own Gotham by Gaslight then this collection is worth picking up. While it's by no means a must have Batman tale, it's still an interesting read and at only £8 you can't really go wrong.

Pete Boomer

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