The “Elseworlds” imprint of DC Comics is often regarded as some of the best parallel Earth/alternate universe storylines in comics, something that allowed for more freedom without the writers being hampered by the prime universe continuity and also allowed creators to experiment with various tones, themes, and subject matters in their comics. One of the lesser-known early 2000s classic “Elseworlds” titles, “Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham,” written by Mike Mignola and Richard Pace, and penciled by Troy Nixey, explored the possibility of mingling Lovecraftian horror elements with existing Batman lore. The title was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Doom that Came to Sarnath.”
The story in the comics worked excellently given the fact that Batman as a character has his roots embedded in horror; hence, when the news of an animated movie adaptation of the story was announced, it was naturally received with much excitement. Indian mythological elements, scriptures written in Devanagari were also assimilated with mix of cosmic dread madness. The movie delivered on its promises with rich visuals, a respectful adherence to the source material, and excellent use of background themes, making it one of the best DC animated projects released in recent years. Directed by Christopher Berkely and Sam Liu, the voice cast of the movie includes David Giuntoli portraying the role of the cape crusader Batman/Bruce Wayne, while Tati Gabrielle gives the voice to Kai Li Cain (Cassandra Cain’s alternate earth version). Other actors whom we hear in the film are David Dastmalchian who plays the role of Grandon, and Emily O’Brien as Talia Al Ghul. It should also be mentioned that this movie is not in the same continuity as the current DC animated movie interconnected universe, “Tomorrowverse,” as it has a distinctive title of its own.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham’?
As the movie begins, we see the billionaire-adventurer Bruce Wayne of the early twentieth century exploring Antarctica along with his adopted children Dick Grayson, Kai Li Cain, and Sanjay ‘Jay’ Tawde, and butler, Alfred, in search of a certain Professor Oswald Cobblepot and his crew. After finding Cobblepot’s shipwrecked and most of the crew dead, Bruce follows a Cobblepot-lookalike figure and comes across a cave. Inside it, he finds one of the crewmembers, a pale, disfigured Grendon, who seems to be chiseling a chunk of ice in his efforts to release a primordial cosmic deity who resides outside time and space and will bring catastrophe to humankind. Bruce sees a glimpse of the being’s form in his mind’s eye and writhes in pain. Subsequently, as Bruce proceeds to escort Grendon out of the cave, he is attacked by vicious, grotesquely mutated life forms, and amidst the ruckus, Grendon takes a portion of the entrapped being inside of him. As they leave, Bruce ensures the cave remains blocked forever by using explosives to seal it off.
Back To Gotham
As the team moves away from there, a monstrous figure of Cobblepot is seen to be overlooking them, accompanied by mutated penguins. From Cobblepot’s journal, Bruce discovers a conspiracy he was already investigating: a cult mystery that has significant ties with Gotham. As Bruce decides to return to Gotham after two decades, he once again gets reminded about that fateful day when he lost his parents and got flashbacks about feeling the cosmic deity’s agonizing gaze in his childhood too. As the rest of the team ventures to Gotham, Sanjay gets assigned to protect the consignment containing Grendel. The team reaches Wayne Manor and discovers a corpse, and Bruce gets a vision of his identity as someone named Langstrom.
Bruce encounters Jason Blood, the human half of the demon Etrigan, at Wayne Manor, who provides three premonitions about three particular things: meeting two spirits, one engulfed in fire and one in bats; Bruce Wayne’s death will lead to the acceptance of his true self; and before Gotham’s salvation, it needs to be burnt to the ground. After the news of Bruce’s return becomes public, his longtime close friend Oliver Queen invites them to dinner, and they meet with a mutual friend of theirs, Harvey Dent. As Ollie sulks in his drunken stupor, Bruce sneaks out in his Batman costume. He discovers from Dr. Kirk Langstrom’s notes that the ancient ‘Cult of Ghul’ is looking for a testament that will allow them to unleash the horror of the primordial beings on Earth. In order to keep the testament away from the cult, Bruce starts tracking it.
Unable to get a hold of the testament, Bruce gets beaten by the creatures summoned by the only surviving member of the “cult of Ghul,” Talia Al Ghul. Daitya, the demon summoned by Talia, entraps Etrigan, who had arrived just in time to save Bruce from a certain death, inside a talisman. Talia attempts to resurrect her father, Ra’s al Ghul and does so successfully. It is revealed that Ra’s, the master sorcerer and necromancer who terrorized the world two millennia ago using his dark arts, has the desire to summon his master Iog-Sotha, the omnipotent cosmic deity, into our reality to provide him the greatest offer he seeks: Earth. Meanwhile, the being inside Grendon makes its presence known as it kills both Grayson and Sanjay successively, leaving a broken Kai Li and a distraught Bruce behind. Bruce once again makes an attempt to foil the plans of the Ghul but gets thrown inside the Lazarus Pit instead. After emerging from that, Bruce gets haunted by the vibrant psychedelic memories of the form of the being he saw in childhood, and it becomes quite clear that the elemental bats will have a significant role in even standing a chance against such celestial beings.
A terrible secret is let out when a teary-eyed, drunk Ollie admits that he will be forever afflicted by guilt due to his father, Henry Queen, being the chief conspirator in Wayne’s murder. We also get to know from Bruce’s reliving his vision with the help of a spiritual medium, Barbara Gordon, that even the Wayne family had its roots in corruption, which marked Gotham as a breeding ground of impending doom. Several hundred years ago, the families of Wayne entered the country as colonists and joined Cobblepot, Queen, and Langstrom in performing a heinous ritual that later accorded them prolonged life and prosperity. But this also meant to bring the cosmic tyrants closer to the earth and create an eventual conflict. To make amends for his father’s sin and motivated by the sacrifices of Bruce’s children, Ollie gears up to tackle supernatural threats. Grendon’s inner being gets transformed into poison ivy and infects Harvey Dent as per the plans of the Al Ghuls. Later, Ollie valiantly sacrifices his life, in the course of killing Poison Ivy during a battle.
Seeing themselves to be dangerously out of their depth and faced with numerous tragedies, Kai Li wonders whether they should leave everything in Gotham and settle elsewhere. Bruce assures his protégé, saying he trusts the kind of person she is and that this situation is the exact moment they have to be stronger than ever to save their city. Bruce adopts appropriate methods by invoking the Bat Spirit in order to tackle the upcoming threat. Harvey’s complete transformation into Two-Face opens the gateway to the dimension through which Bruce secretly enters and faces the horrible situation of battling with his deceased close ones who have turned into undead thralls.
‘Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham’ Ending Explained – What Happened With Bruce Wayne?
After beating the thralls and Talia, Bruce finally confronts Ra’s Al Ghul. Unfortunately for him, it seems too late, as the portal has already been opened, and log-Sotha has extended its tentacles. Ra’s also reveals himself to be the prime cosmic deity, Ctulhu. As Ctulhu continues brutalizing a helpless Bruce Wayne, the past visions come to Bruce’s mind, and he accepts death, only to re-emerge stronger after becoming the Bat-elemental itself. Even though the bat-monster makes quick work of Ctulhu, the entry of log-Sotha seems too much for even him to handle. As we see the incomprehensible sensation that almost tears Batman apart, in the nick of time, the talisman of Etrigan appears and stops the worldwide cataclysm. Keeping in sync with the predictions, Gotham burns in purging fire.
In the closing sequences, we see that in the wake of Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, and Harvey Dent, the still-healing city mourns. As the next in line of Wayne/Batman’s legacy, Kai Li Cain reaffirms Bruce’s belief in a better tomorrow and assures that, in time of need, Gotham’s favorite son will return, as the viewpoint is zoomed inside the same clock tower that Bruce used to fear during childhood. We see the Elemental Bat Monster waking up, staying ever vigilant.
The question of legacy is something the movie brings up a number of times. In the flashback sequence, Martha tells a young Bruce that he will have pretty big shoes to fill, but as the movie moves forward, we see that the Wayne legacy is tainted. On the other hand, Kai Li Cain was someone Bruce trusted wholeheartedly as his protégé, and he managed to instill his belief in a better future in her. In this movie canon, Bruce Wayne might be no more, but the continuation of his legacy carries on through Kai Li Cain.