By Will Barber – Taylor
Following on from the previous edition of The Dark Tales of The Dark Knight, in which we looked at The Joker’s attempt to bring Hell to Gotham, we look as Batman is forced to survive in a situation of extreme peril in A Gotham Tale (Batman 477 -478).
A Gotham Tale is an attempt to create a decent, creepy story which falls apart due to the fact it lacks any form of basic logic. None of the characters act particularly logically and the whole set up of the story doesn’t follow any form of logic.
In A Gotham Tale we see Batman apparently attempting to stop a robbery at the Gotham Art Museum. While there, he is forced to go into a safe with Christina Creighton and her father’s old friend, Morris Eagleton. Christina has just returned to Gotham from England to attend the inquest to her father’s death. Christina’s father had been recently found dead while halfway through transforming into the legendary Gargoyle, a creature who had stalked Gotham for ten years. Locked in the safe, Batman, Christina and Eagleton have only enough air for two people, so they must decide which one of them must die so that the other two will survive.
Interesting as this setup is it has one major problem: a lack of logic. Apologies to anyone who might have wanted to read this comic, but you would be better off not reading it. Eagleton, it turns out has been The Gargoyle all along and the entire robbery is a setup to lure Eagleton into a false sense of security. This means that when Christina attempts to use the deadly “poison” on herself to sacrifice herself to save Batman and Eagleton, it is pointless and happens for no reason other than to give the first instalment a cliff-hanger. This lack of apparent basic logic is followed up by Eagleton’s transformation towards the end of the second issue into The Gargoyle.
The formula that Eagleton uses to transform into the Gargoyle is partly made up of Christina’s blood (how he has been able to keep making the potion while Christina was in England for so many years is an apparent mystery) and so must “feed on her blood”. When Batman asks how he is going to explain to the authorities how two people trapped in a locked vault with him were hacked to death as though by an animal, Eagleton simply shrugs it off and says “he’ll think of something”. If Eagleton is so blasé about massacring two people in such a confined space, then why did he not kill Christina when they were looking around the exhibits in the art gallery? Or before they even arrived? The fact Eagleton has managed to evade “The World’s Greatest Detective” with this attitude for ten years seems to indicate that he isn’t “The World’s Greatest Detective”.
The artwork for this issue is nicely done and the artist Albert Deguizman manages to create some lovely visual images throughout the comic. Particularly well drawn are his depictions of Batman and The Gargoyle; though at times the latter resembles a giant chicken more than a demonic creature of the night.
A Gotham Tales is a fairly bad story that could have been good if some more effort had been put into it. It seems to lack any particularly logic or originality and that makes it the mess that it is.
Next Time on The Dark Tales of The Dark Knight: The Origin of Katana!