Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1 Comic Review

Written by: Andy Diggle
Art by: Leandro Fernandez
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Cover art by: Leandro Fernandez, Dave Stewart (cover A)
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: June 11, 2024

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1 returns to the Victorian era of Elseworlds and imagines what would happen if the Last Son of Krypton arrived on Earth decades earlier.

Is Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1 Good?

DC's Elseworlds is back with a semi-new invention when Andy Diggle imagines what happens when the world's greatest hero crash lands on Earth in the era of Gothic atmosphere and Frontier justice. Does this first issue bring something new to the table, or does it rely on nostalgia bait with a fresh coat of paint? It's a little bit of Column A and mostly Column B. Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1 begins with Jonathan and Martha Kent riding their horse-drawn wagon through the plains of Kansa (That's not a typo. It's "Kansa" in the comic.) in 1860. Jonathan drives his horse toward the parcel of land that will be their future home. Suddenly, a meteor streaks out of the night sky and crashes nearby. When the Kents approach the strange metallic object at the heart of the meteor's crater, they find something emitting a green glow. Thirty-three years later, we meet Lady Selina Kyle as she approaches several homeless women on the streets of Gotham City. Selina assists destitute women and relies on several ladies to be her eyes and ears on the streets, especially for intel about the recently sighted Bat Man. Later, Lady Selina Kyle attends a Gala at the Gotham Museum to unveil the museum's latest exhibit called "The Kryptonian Age." Several attendees are unsettled by Selina's appearance due to her reputation of associating with women of ill repute. After introductions and awkward conversations, Selina excuses herself to a secluded office so she can let her valet in through a window to take her place at the Gala while Selina changes into Catwoman. While the Gala continues downstairs, Catwoman scales the walls outside to sneak into the Kryptonian Age exhibit and steal a green glowing ring with a familiar symbol etched in the center stone - the House of El. Meanwhile, we learn through the speaker in the Gala that the Kryptonian Age is considered a time of great technological capability in Earth's past. All the exhibit artifacts were gathered and presented through the efforts of the Wayne Foundation. Later still, Catwoman arrives at the nearby docks to deliver the glowing rings to a pair of hired thugs in exchange for uncut diamonds. The thugs consider attacking Catwoman to get the ring and keep the diamonds, but they back off. Suddenly, Catwoman and the group of thugs are attacked by a group of ninjas led by a masked woman wearing Middle Eastern garb. The woman has come for the ring, which she calls the Ring of Jiang Li. Simultaneously, the fabled Bat Man enters the fray. The masked woman is handed the ring by one of her ninjas, but she quickly deduces it's a fake, planted by Mr. Wayne as a trap to draw his adversaries out. The issue ends with the melee fight spilling onto the top of a moving subway train on an elevated track, where the masked woman proclaims Talia Al Ghul will grant the Bat Man a swift death. "Wait! Hold up a second. The title says Kryptonian Age. Where's Victorian-era Superman?" you might wonder. Hold your horses, Pardner. You're right that the title suggests the appearance of a Victorian-age Superman, but Andy Diggle appears to be building anticipation. Does he build enough anticipation to get readers hyped to pick up the next issue? Read on. What's great about Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1? Andy Diggle and Leandro Fernandez hit the mark by recreating the Gothic aesthetic and moody atmosphere of the original Gotham By Gaslight. The costumes and personalities fit the era, and the setup makes sense for the situation. If you're a fan of the original Gotham By Gaslight, you'll probably enjoy this return to the familiar. What's not so great about Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1? Your knee-jerk reaction is correct in that the amount of Kryptonian substance in this issue is almost inconsequential. Diggle is taking the slow-burn approach to introduce anything Kryptonian, missing the obvious opportunity to show the Man of Steel as the cliffhanger instead of Talia Al Ghul. To be clear, Diggle doesn't invoke Ram V levels of decompression (because nobody wants that), but the issue lacks a wow moment to demand your return for issue #2. Playing it safe is never a good choice, and sadly, Diggle plays it a little too safe in this issue.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Final Thoughts:

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - The Kryptonian Age #1 brings readers back to the Gotham By Gaslight Elseworld, with a setup that implies Earth and Krypton have a hidden history. The art and basic premise feel authentic to the Victorian Age, so Gotham By Gaslight fans will enjoy the aesthetic, but readers will be disappointed with the almost total lack of anything Kryptonian in this first issue to get you excited.


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