Gotham By Gaslight
- Written by: Brian Augustyn
- Pencils by: Mike Mignola
- Inks by: P. Craig Russell
- Colours by: David Hornung
- Letterer: John Workman
Master of the Future
- Written by: Brian Augustyn
- Artist: Eduardo Barreto
- Colours by: Steve Oliff
- Letterer: Willie Schubert
The year is 1888, and a cruel fate has befallen the ladies of the night in Whitechapel, London. A killer is on the loose, and the police have no leads as to who he could be. All the have is a name, given to them in a letter signed by the killer himself, Jack.
Jack the Ripper is a notorious serial killer from the 1800’s, having murdered at least five women that have been recorded, with more victims suspected to have fallen to his blade. Jack was never caught, and his identity has remained a mystery, sparking decades of mystery and even a few copy-cat killers, most of whom were caught unlike Jack.
Gotham by Gaslight:
Jack the Ripper was a real life villain, if only we had a real life hero to stop him. Gotham by Gaslight imagines a world where Batman exists alongside Jack, but in this story, we skip a year later from the famous tragedy of London, as Jack the Ripper has come to America, to Gotham City…this was his first mistake.
Bruce Wayne, still the billionaire playboy we know him to be in the usual timeline of the comics, has returned home from a trip to Europe, where he learned of the Whitechapel murders, as well as learning some new skills to help with his nightly activities.
The book is split into two stories; Gotham by Gaslight, which sees Batman take on the Ripper, & Master of the Future, which is set some time later on, whilst recalling the events of the first story.
Gotham is plagued by a series of mysterious murders that mirror those committed in Whitechapel. The only sightings recorded in Gotham however, are of a mysterious bat-like creature, which people refer to as the Bat Man. This Bat Man is accused of committing the murders, and so Bruce, the man behind the mysterious Batman, must stop these murders and prove the vigilante’s innocence. However, when Police search Wayne Manor and discover the murder weapon, Bruce’s problems pile up, as now the innocence and reputation of Bruce Wayne as well as Batman, are at stake.
Master of the Future:
Fast forward 11 months after the Ripper case was closed, Bruce Wayne has hung up the cowl after deciding the city was safer, despite there being a financial crisis thanks to the newly elected mayor, Tolliver, who was Police Commissioner in the first story, with his position now belonging to James Gordon.
The Mayor plans to host a carnival in order to bring revenue back to the city, but is warned by a crazed man by the name of Alexandre LeRois, that the carnival will burn along with the Mayor, unless his terms are met. His terms, are that the control of the carnival, and the city itself, is handed to him. The Mayor, stubborn as he is, ignores the warnings, and the cities citizens, along with Gordon himself, can only hope the Batman will return to save them from the man who calls himself, the Master of the Future.
The art of this book brings the shadows and dreary weather of the time period to the pages, with brighter colours being used in the second story to show the progress that has been made since the Ripper was stopped by Batman.
With the title of Gotham by Gaslight, the use of yellow in this book really portray the gaslight aspect, which covers many of the backdrops for the panels, as well as being used for lighting purposes such as in the cells. The dark palette give us the atmosphere and overall emotion of the book, which in turn gives the reader that sense of suspense, as we begin to wonder what is lurking in the shadows of each panel.
The design of the Batman suit fits the era well with the high collar and stitched together leather cowl that makes the character feel like he truly belongs in the time period.
This book quickly became one of my favourite Batman books, because the story (whilst some parts predictable) has a real sense of suspense and action, with a great plot from start to finish. The design of the characters, the setting and the colours used to set the tone, really work brilliantly together, and as mentioned before, because of how it’s designed, Batman doesn’t feel out of place in this time period, similar to how I felt after watching Batman Ninja, it just works so well. Having only seen the DC Animated movie before reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the differences, as well as being able to pull out the source panels for some of the animated features scenes. This book is a great read and definitely one I would recommend to any Batman fan who hasn’t yet read it.