Gotham Knight DVD
With the latest Batman film "The Dark Knight" devastating box offices across the globe, it seems people just can't get enough of the caped man in black. Who can blame them? It's the best film of the year so far, and will be extremely hard to top. If your one of the many like me who need more Batman (even after seeing the film multiple times) then do I have a treat for you! Our pals at DC comics and Warner have teamed up to deliver the animated feature Batman: Gotham Knight. Six short films that take place between Batman Begins and the latest film. Very similar to the Animatrix in style, as each film is animated differently with independent stories that loosely connect to each other. All six episodes are very well done, but I (as undoubtedly you will as well) have certain particular favorites.
"Have I Got A Story For You" tells the tale of four skateboard kids, who tell their personal stories of how they witnessed Batman chasing a mysterious villain in different locations that very same day. From a living shadow, to a giant bat or even a mechanized robot, these are the wild imaginations of Gotham's dark protector from the mind of a youngster. Only near the end does the fourth kid actually see Batman personally has he and his adversary make an abrupt entrance into the abandon building where all four friends are hanging out.
"Crossfire" gives us a unsettling glimpse of the outside of Arkum's sanitarium as two of Gordon's officer's drop off the criminal captured by Batman in the first segment. If this is the outside, I can only imagine what nightmares lurk in it's halls. One of the officers is considering leaving the unit due to his mistrust of Batman and Gordon's faith in a "vigilante". It get's worse though, as on the way back to Gotham they stop the car near some abandon buildings to talk things through, and are caught in the crossfire between the Russian and Italian mob. Batman makes an appearance and saves the life of the very officer who doubts him while taking care of the mob in the process.
"Field Test" involves Bruce Wayne's friend Lucius Fox devising yet another useful tool for Batman to use in his never ending fight against Gotham's underworld. An electromagnetic device that can actually deflect bullets from small arms fire. While such an invention sounds wonderful in theory, Bruce finds out very quickly that the device works too well and opts to put his mortality on the line vs. being invincible.
"In Darkness Dwells" our Masked avenger pursues a kidnaped cardinal taken from his church by "Killer Croc". In the dank sewers Batman confronts the reptilian menace and suffers a bite wound. Croc is suffering from Scarecrow's fear toxin and it's mind altering effects are transferred to Batman via the bloodstream. With time running short Batman fights dark illusions to rescue the cardinal from Scarecrow and a gang of escaped Arkam inmates.
"Working Through Pain" is a trip down memory lane while Batman is wounded in a sewer from a gunshot wound. Disorientated and losing blood, Bruce remembers his time in India, where under the guidance of a young woman (an outcast in her village for originally disguising herself as a boy, to learn secrets that were only taught to men) helps him overcome and control various degrees of pain in any situation. With this knowledge, he fights his way back to the surface and to safety.
"Deadshot" the final feature, pits Batman against one of the world's deadliest assassins "Deadshot". (I guess this is DC's answer to Marvel's Bullseye). Deadshot likes a challenge (such as shooting his target from moving vehicles) and it also keeps him one step ahead of his opponents. When the word comes down that he's coming to Gotham and commissioner Gordon is his next intended victim, it will take everything Batman has to outwit and defeat this evil nemesis.
As I said earlier this, is a great set of stories that give us even more insight and adventure into Batman's past and present. The Joker or some of the other well know villians (aside from Scarecrow) are absent from these tales, but I find that it's a refreshing departure to have Batman face unknown rivals or some of the more lesser known villains that continue to plague Gotham's city streets. As always, no matter who threatens the lives of innocents the Dark Knight will be there to be the night's right hand of justice.
- Craig Harvey