Gothic (New Edition)

Author: Grant Morrison
Artist: Klaus Janson
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 671 9
ISBN-10: 1 84576 671 7
Available 26 October 2007

Mr. Whisper, the man without a shadow, was brutally murdered twenty years ago, and yet... somehow he has returned. And now the mysterious figure stalks Gotham City's most notorious crime lords, killing them off, one by one. With the Underworld of Gotham in chaos, the Dark Knight is drawn into conflict with Mr. Whisper, only to discover that this immortal killer has a terrifying connection to Bruce Wayne's youth. Despite this shocking revelation, the Caped Crusader must find a way to stop the unkillable man from unleashing a lethal plague on Gotham...

Gothic collects together issues #6-10 of the Legends of the Dark Knight series. This was one of the few Batman series that I actually read in the early '90s and it was interesting to revisit the story after all this time.

Gotham City is plagued with crime and corruption in places high and low, but one man has taken a stand against evil of all forms: the dark avenger known as Batman. The Dark Knight, plagued by nightmares, investigates the murders of the major crime bosses in Gotham. Discovering the culprit is a serial child killer drowned years ago by the Mafia, Batman goes after the mysterious Mr. Whisper... but the killer has a horrifying secret, and a terrible connection with Bruce Wayne. Can Batman stop an immortal murderer from slaughtering everyone in Gotham?

Unfortunately, this tale wasn't as impressive as I remember it. This is mainly down to the fact that too much material is "borrowed" from very familiar sources. Anyone who has seen the movie Angel Heart will instantly recognise the basis of the main plot. I was also a little disappointed to see that the ending was also not as strong as I remembered. While the whole Mr. Whisper plot is neatly resolved, what Batman does next is incredibly pointless and adds nothing of merit to the story.

I was also unsure as to whether Mr. Whisper's trap for Batman (which felt like it has been lifted straight out of an old Batman comic or the '60s Batman TV show) was supposed to be funny or not. To be honest it just seemed incredibly silly and more than a little out of place in this dark tale.

While this is a collection that is entertaining, I don't know if I would necessarily rush right out and buy it - there are plenty of better releases out there at present.

Nick Smithson

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