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Batman: Gotham Knight & r & & r & by BEN KROMER & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & N & lt;/span & ow that I've seen The Dark Knight enough times, I'm going through Bat-postpartum depression and spending a lot of time on my Bat-futon (really, I bought Dark Knight bedding) wondering what my man Christopher Nolan is going to do now that the Joker is really, actually, dead and yet clearly needs to be in the third Batman movie. All I can do is wait until Nolan, Christian Bale and, of course, Morgan Freeman get this mess figured out some time next decade. In the meantime, as long as I'm in bed, it's time for cartoons.





Batman: Gotham Knight, like The Animatrix before it, is a six-part animated anthology taking place (supposedly) in the same universe as the movies. I say "supposedly" because, while each episode follows the basic rules for a Batman story, most of them don't try to emulate the tone of Nolan's movies, except "In Darkness Dwells" by Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer. The first episode, "Have I Got a Story for You," written by the creator of the A History of Violence comic, is downright whimsical, involving a group of kids comparing exaggerated stories about seeing Batman. It's a very on-the-nose way of exploring the character's growing mythology, and the variations on Batman (robo-Batman, literal BATman, and shadow Batman) aren't very imaginative. Kids ruin everything.





Comic writer Brian Azzarello's episode "Working Through Pain" is better, going back to the global expedition that eventually led Bruce Wayne to Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins. In other episodes, Batman has run-ins with Scarecrow, Killer Croc and Deadshot. Who is Deadshot? Just some guy with a gun and a fancy suit, but his presence is an unpleasant reminder that the new Batman has almost run through all his best villains.





None of the six episodes constitute classic Batman stories; most are right on the cusp of "good" and "meh." This is one of those occasions where I'm more enamored with the concept than the actual result; that is, I love anthologies, I love Batman, and I can like anime a lot more than I like this. (Rated PG-13)

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