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DVD Review

DVD cover

Gotham Knight


Starring (voice): Kevin Conroy, Gary Dourdan, David McCallum, Parminder Nagra and Ana Ortiz
Warner Home Video
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 12
Available 14 July 2008

Batman: Gotham Knight is a groundbreaking interpretation of Batman's transition from beginner to Dark Knight. Six interlocking chapters weave together into a mesmerizing saga as he faces the fearsome Scarecrow, the freakish Killer Croc and the unerring marksman Deadshot...

Batman: Gotham Knight is a project that is not dissimilar to the release of The Animatrix. This project is brought to us from the producers of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and sees some of the industry's most respected writers, directors and producers joining forces to offer us a collection of short tales based on the Batman universe.

First up is Have I Got a Story for You. Written by Josh Olson (History of Violence), this tells the tale of a group of children - all of whom have had recent encounters with the new vigilante Batman. Each tell a tale of what the Dark Knight looked like to them. Unsurprisingly their interpretation of what he looks like, and whether he is good or bad, differs wildly.

Crossfire is penned by comics author Greg Rucka and sees Gotham City PD cops Crispus Allen and Anna Ramirez transporting the criminally insane Jacob Feely (The Man in Black) to Arkham Asylum. They start discussing Batman. Allen is anti the winged vigilante, while his partner points out that the crime rate in the city is lower thanks to his actions. The two cops stumble into the middle of a shoot-out between "The Russian" and Sal Maroni, where they will finally get to see first hand what the Batman is capable of.

In Field Test Batman has a new gadget that he wants to try while out in the field. This one is an electromagnetic shield generator designed to stop bullets before they even hit his armour. But when Batman is shot at, the deflected bullet hits a criminal.

The Darkness Dwells takes Batman into the Gotham sewers to face Killer Croc, a deformed thug who seems even more monstrous after the Scarecrow sprays him with his fear toxin. Batman keeps in radio contact with police commissioner James Gordon as he makes his way through the sewers.

Working Through Pain is written by Brian Azzarello and explores an early chapter of Bruce Wayne's training, showing how a mysterious and exotic Indiana woman known as Cassandra introduced Batman to techniques that would help him to conquer the physical and spiritual consequences of what he does.

Deadshot: Writer Alan Burnett ties together all of the loose threads as the Dark Knight must thwart an unerring assassin whose love of guns and disregard for human life lets him cross lines that most villains would shy away from.

Extras include a limited edition Gotham Knight booklet (not sent to us with the review disc); and an audio commentary with DC Comics's Greg Novak, the voice of Batman - Kevin Conroy and Denny O'Neil, who was group editor for the Batman series at DC Comics before he retired. The press release we were sent also states that there is a feature and Wonder Woman Sneak Peak - neither of which were on the disc we received.

While this release won't be to everyone's liking, it does attempt to do something new with the Batman franchise, and should be applauded for that act alone. Personally, I really enjoyed it, it's just a shame that the stories weren't slightly longer - 20 min each would have allowed the writers to go into a little more detail.


Pete Boomer

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