Batman Meets Lovecraft

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola helped reimagine Bruce Wayne and his entire world over twenty years ago for an Elseworlds graphic novel called Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham. Set in the 1920s, Batman battles demons and Lovecraftian monsters as Gotham’s destruction looms. It has now been adapted for animation in one of the most out there and terrifying Batman movies ever produced by WB. David Giuntoli reprises his role of Bruce Wayne/Batman from Batman: Soul of the Dragon.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is a period piece drenched in horror and supernatural themes. Batman himself is more or less unchanged, the one constant in a movie which tweaks many elements of the Dark Knight’s mythos.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is pure horror driven by the supernatural and occult

The story takes many of Batman’s familiar friends and foes, often reinventing them with a twist for dramatic purposes. James Gordon, Alfred, Oliver Queen, Harvey Dent, Kirk Langstrom, Barbara Gordon and classic villains like Poison Ivy, Ra’s al Ghul and the Penguin all make appearances in some form. I loved how they approached villains like Poison Ivy and the Penguin, making them more horrifying and intimidating.

Besides the different setting, the biggest change involves Bruce Wayne’s many wards. Dick Grayson is there, along with two practically new characters added into the mix: youngsters Kai Li Cain (Tati Gabrielle) and Sanjay Tawde (Karan Brar). Kai Li Cain is an important character in the narrative, a somewhat annoying sidekick and original creation who isn’t all that interesting. She’s easily the weakest aspect of Batman’s adventure and does nothing a more familiar character couldn’t have done in the role.

Traveling the world, explorer Bruce Wayne accidentally unleashes an ancient evil which threatens all of Gotham. Having trained his mind and body to tackle crime, he returns to Gotham facing a mystical threat which plans to destroy his beloved city. Squaring off with demons and a black magic cult bent on opening a portal to a dark dimension, the battle may consume Bruce’s very soul and all his friends in the process.

The PG-13 movie definitely earns its rating, a gruesome tale far darker in tone than regular superhero fare. Horror elements are played out in graphic detail, including several nasty deaths. The character tweaks and general aesthetic make it a film for adults. Kids may have difficulty adjusting if their only frame of reference for the characters are cartoons like Batman Beyond and Batman: The Animated Series.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is pure horror driven by the supernatural and occult, an off-beat corner of the Batman mythos influenced by such works as Gotham By Gaslight. Venturing far beyond the confines of the Dark Knight’s normal adventures, it’s a nice change of pace with a few surprising narrative choices. While Batman stuck in a Lovecraft-inspired tale wouldn’t have been my first choice, Gotham provides a natural home for its visceral thrills and crisp action.

Batman The Doom That Came To Gotham 4K UHD screen shot


Regular HDR offers small advantages over the normal 1080p color space for Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham. Primarily seen in splashes of brightly glowing mystical energies given off by Batman’s demonic foes, including a fiery yellow surrounding Etrigan. Following in the long line of animated DC films, there’s no real attempt to directly adapt the stylized artwork seen in the original graphic novel. Nods are made for the character designs, while it’s clear the animators cherry-picked a few panels and overall compositions from the comics for the inspired visuals.

The 1.78:1 presentation otherwise holds meager benefits for the flat animation over Blu-ray. This Gotham is drenched in gloomy tones, an atmospheric aesthetic which doesn’t lend itself to overwhelming eye candy. Tinted like a period piece, the muted palette emphasizes few primary colors. Black levels and the contrast are perfect, neatly dropping Batman in and out of the shadows with full clarity.

The main feature runs 90 minutes on a dual-layer UHD. The HEVC encode cleans up the tougher banding issues spotted on Blu-ray, which contains chroma noise. The UHD is mastered at 1000 nits for maximum luminance and .005 nits for minimum luminance, fairly common practice for Warner. It’s an upscale from the animation’s native resolution far below 2160p. Conflicts demonstrate smooth fluidity and consistent line art, even if they aren’t impressively detailed.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham boasts incremental improvements in picture quality on UHD but really isn’t essential in 4K. The budget animation simply doesn’t warrant it and the HDR grading is often an afterthought. If your budget is tight, go with the cheaper BD option.


The budget for these animated DTV efforts likely preclude next-generation audio like Dolby Atmos, which would bump the movie’s sonic impact up a notch. The UHD’s included 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio is quite average for modern animation and barely matches its predecessors in audio finesse. I wouldn’t characterize the fully lossless sound as a disappointment but the sound design is uneven with a few underwhelming scenes.

Dynamics within the chaotic mix are solid and robust, though this is not a heavy-hitting soundtrack with massive LFE. Dialogue reproduction is clean and purely intelligible. The lush musical score by composer Stefan Smith probably benefits the most in a highly discrete mix.

Optional English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles play in a white font. Spanish and French dubs in 5.1 Dolby Digital are included on the UHD.


WB puts out Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham in a UHD and Blu-ray combo pack, moving all bonus features to the included BD per their normal custom. First pressings include a cardboard slipcover with Warner’s 100th Anniversary sticker slapped on for good measure. An audio commentary, one new featurette, and a couple of bonus episodes from Batman: The Animated Series round out the package. It’s not a loaded set, something more could have been done for this unique story adapting Batman.

A Movies Anywhere digital copy of the movie which redeems in UHD video quality is included but pay attention to the listed expiration date. Warner recently has gotten very serious about enforcing the expiration dates on their digital codes.

Given the UHD can only boast a few paltry HDR improvements over the regular Blu-ray, budget-minded consumers may want to skip the premium price unless they are collectors.

Batman: Shadows of Gotham (13:12 in HD) – A behind-the-scenes featurette which delves into the themes of existential terror and monsters in a Gotham drenched in Gothic overtones. Interviews include familiar faces like Sam Liu and Wes Gleason.

Audio Commentary – Producer/co-director Sam Liu and screenwriter Jase Ricci lead this group commentary among others, dishing their insights in a largely pleasant and occasionally informative discussion. Worth a listen for how a project like this gets shaped for the screen coming from an established graphic novel.

Superman: Red Son Previews Featurette (11:21 in HD) – Recycled from earlier DC films.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight Previews Featurette (08:29 in HD) – Recycled from a prior release, Gotham By Gaslight shares somewhat similar DNA to The Doom That Came To Gotham.

A two-parter from Batman: The Animated Series featuring Ra’s al Ghul and Talia:

The Demon’s Quest: Part 1 (22:18 in HD)

The Demon’s Quest: Part 2 (22:14 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham
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Batman battles horrifying demons and other creatures in this moody horror tale set in the 1920s, reinventing most of his supporting cast.

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5 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 56 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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