Of all the Batman stories I enjoy the most, it’s the one shot elseworld tales. These are stories set in the DC universe but in alternative timelines or dimensions. Familiar characters and lore get a unique twist and this can make for fairly compelling narratives. The first of these appeared on our shelves in 1989, in a tale which pitted Batman against one of the most notorious serial killers of the last century – Jack the Ripper.
Set in 1889, Gotham by Gaslight, sees Batman hunting the Ripper in Victorian era Gotham (very suspiciously modelled on London) and is now the latest in the DC Comics Animated Original Movies line up. This is an excellent 78 minute animated movie which succeeds in recreating the look and feel of the source material with a few unexpected twists in the narrative along the way.
There’s a beautiful Steampunk inspired design which shows Gotham City ready to embrace the new technology of the oncoming century. This also enables Batman to realistically employ his retinue of gadgets like the infamous grappling hook. As alluded to earlier, this is not a direct translation of the comic book but rather a retelling with original plot points. There’s some fantastic DC Comics cameos and a wonderful allusion to Sherlock Holmes thrown in as well. The eventual reveal of Jack the Rippers identity is a move away from the comics and is a bold move which delighted me.
In short Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is a visual stunning animated movie which is action packed and places some familiar faces in unique and refreshing character roles. It’s definitely worth adding to your collection.