Nyx Book Reviews

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Graphic Novel Review: Victorian Batman #1-2 by Brian Augustyn

Title: Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
Author: Brian Augustyn et al.
Series: Victorian Batman #1
Rating: 4 Stars

48 pages
Published February 1st 1989 by DC Comics


Summary: It’s the end of the nineteenth century, and Bruce Wayne is coming back from his trip around Europe to arrive at Gotham. But it seems like Jack the Ripper, the notorious serial killer in London, has found a new killing spot in Gotham.

What I liked:

  • The imagery is comparable to the one in the Hellboy comics (not very suprising, since both are illustrated by Mike Mignola), which worked very well with the turn of the century theme
  • Gotham looked very atmospheric
  • I love how they took a character we all know so well, and embedded him into the time-frame given here
  • There is some pretty decent mystery; it was interesting to see how it all tied up in the end
  • I quite enjoyed how the city doesn’t trust Batman in the slightest, and how some tell they think Batman is a criminal to Bruce’s face. This probably happens in every Batman comic, but it still has its appeal

What I didn’t like:

  • The pacing seemed a bit off. The start of the comic took very long, and it wasn’t until about 20 pages in (which is 40% of the comic) that the main plot line gets time
  • The ending was rushed – although I liked the ending itself, the resolution could have been stretched out a bit longer

Verdict: A fun addition to the Batman canon, which can easily be read as a standalone. There are no cliffhangers, and if you’ve seen any of the recent Batman movies, you’ll be fine background-wise. Definitely worth the ninety cents I bought it for.

Title: Batman: Master of the Future
Author: Brian Augustyn et al.
Series: Victorian Batman #2
Rating: 2 Stars

63 pages
Published 1991 by DC Comics


Summary: It’s the turn of the 19th century, and the mayor of Gotham decides on having a fair to celebrate everything new and advanced. A mustached villain threatens the fair though, and only Batman can stop him.

What I liked:

  • On a purely conceptual level I really like this book. There was plenty of resistance going into the twentieth century, and it’s an interesting subject
  • All the usual Batman characters make an appearance
  • There are a lot of cool action scenes

What I didn’t like:

  • The execution of the story was downright terrible. There are plot holes the size of the Gotham slums
  • The villain had no motivation at all. NONE. And he was constantly announcing himself and his evil master plan
  • The art was different from the art in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. The art in Batman: Master of the Future was kinda dotty and meh
  • I’m fine with (older) graphic novels not having many proper female characters. It’s sad, but I like men just fine. However, it annoys the crap out of me when the only semi-decent female character only gets page time when she’s running away from an explosion and half her bust is falling out of her dress. I get that this was the nineties, but really?
  • There is absolutely no tension whatsoever
  • The resolution didn’t make any sense, because of aforementioned plot holes

Verdict: Master of the Future is often sold together with Gotham by Gaslight. Honestly, unless you’re a hardcore fan, you can skip this one. It’s not worth your time. Just stick with Gotham by Gaslight.

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