BOOK REVIEW – BATMAN – CASTLE OF THE BAT 1995 Titan Books

 

A one off experimental graphic novel taking the batman mythos to an earlier age and genre- that of the classic gothic horror tale – essentially, this is Frankenstein, with Bruce Wayne in mad doctor mode, and the batman, as his monster.

 

Wayne sees his father murdered by a highwayman, and grows up bitter and twisted as a result. Years later, wealthy and powerful he inherits his father’s money and buys a crumbling castle.  Assisted by his loyal servant, Alfred he discovers a secret corridor leading to the University medical labs, where a series of organs, and body parts are stored, including the brain of Wayne’s father.

 

Wayne embarks on a freakish experiment to bring the Bat creature to life, and sets it to avenging his father’s death, only to find that the highwayman was actually a hired killer serving another deranged scientist from the University. Wayne and his creation now set off to capture him, and they all perish when the buildings are destroyed.

 

It’s a clever idea that twists and tweaks some aspects of the familiar story, but not others. Alfred as an Igor type figure might have helped, or the other scientist being the Joker. The initial premise established, the story quickly runs out of inventiveness, though its panels shrouded in fog are very well presented.

 

 

Arthur Chappell

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