Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham, one of this year’s big animated releases for DC, has been out for a few months so it’s no longer the most recent on the calendar, but it made it to Max in the last couple of weeks, which gave me the chance I’ve been biding my time for.

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The Dark Knight is in the fire in Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (2023), Warner Bros. Animation

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I admit I wasn’t as agog as I have been for other animated features, but I was curious how the team behind it was going to execute it and if it was going to be any good, generally. The idea of blending the street-level realism of the Dark Knight in the Jazz Age with cosmic Lovecraft-brand horror is appealing.

Yes, that’s been done a few times before, but no matter how many times you see it, the potential of mixing up the Bat-mythos with strange new elements always possesses a level of intrigue. Add to that the out-of-this-world disturbing nature of a tale in the style of HP Lovecraft and you can create something surreally combustible.


But, now that I’ve seen The Doom – with that promise of shock, awe, and surrealism ebbing and flowing in my mental periphery – I can say it was fine. They tried. However, I didn’t come away shocked, awed, or weirded out in the way I was hoping. The Batman tropes and the demonic, mystical parts are there, but they fall short of transcendence.

Based on the Elseworlds graphic novel by Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and Richard Pace, The Doom That Came To Gotham adapts the quasi-origin story of Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli) returning to Gotham after twenty years in exile to become The Night. Far from a whim, Bruce’s homecoming is impelled by a bizarre incident and discovery in a polar ice cavern.

Doom came to Gotham-graphic novel

Front cover to Batman: Doom That Came to Gotham by Mike Mignola via DC Comics

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Grendon/Mr. Freeze (David Dastmalchian), a crewmember of an ill-fated expedition led by Oswald Cobblepot, unearths a tentacled alien creature that’s driven him insane. After he’s subdued, it becomes clear something sinister is afoot back home that could mean the end of the world. Batman is the only hope but Bruce has to face demons from his past that will challenge everything he knows.

That summary brings a lot to the table but not all of it comes together. While I liked most elements in play, each of them was better individually than as a contributor to the sum of the film’s parts. What’s more, when added up, you come away with material that could function as two separate movies to a degree.

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Talia uses magic in Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (2023), Warner Bros. Animation


On one hand, there is a perfect example of a Batman Begins or Year One story at work where Bruce is dealing with his family secrets and finding himself as a hero or hope for Gotham. David Giuntoli excels at bringing life into a Dark Knight at this stage. He is inspired casting that hopefully stands the test of time.

All of the voice cast does very well, especially Tati Gabrielle as Kai Li, the stand-in for Cassandra Cain who lives long enough to become the de facto Robin. Performances are fine; it’s the Lovecraft tropes that were lacking. The standard Chthulu and body horror are accounted for – mostly to put new spins on old Rogues – but I thought they were held back.

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Kai Li Cain (Tati Gabrielle) in Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (2023), Warner Bros. Animation

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Until the final act, that is, where Batman communes with spirits, battles the undead, and comes face to face with the godlike octopus thing in the climactic battle after he (Bruce himself) takes on a new form befitting his spirit animal. It’s all the madness of Lovecraftian horror plunged into the gritty noir world of the Caped Crusader fans could want – or close to it.

I just wish the rest of the movie was like that.

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Batman suspects a “doom” is coming in Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (2023), Warner Bros. Animation

At this point, you’re probably wondering about the 1920s setting since I haven’t discussed it. It’s there, not of any consequence, but I digress.

My verdict: it was the right move to wait for The Doom to come to Max because Batman – The Doom That Came to Gotham isn’t terribly groundbreaking and, at most, is worth streaming.

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Review: ‘Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham’ Looks Good But Doesn’t Quite Hit The Mark
  • Voice cast
  • Final act where the Mignola sensibility really kicks in
  • Lovecraft elements are toned down
  • Several characters are reimagined to serve no clear purpose
5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (8 Votes)
  • About The Author

    JB Augustine

    Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover all things DC and Godzilla. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.