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Thursday, January 17, 2019

WAYNE of GOTHAM (audiobook) by Tracy Hickman

Published by GraphicAudio in 2013.
Multicast Performance.
Duration: Approximately 6 hours.

GraphicAudio has been adapting novels into audiobooks that are performed by 20+ people like an old-fashioned radio play for years. In this case, they have adapted a novel by veteran fantasy/sci-fi writer Tracy Hickman. Hickman doesn't usually write about DC Comics characters, his reputation was made writing books related to the Dungeons and Dragons universe. That being said, the if you are going to make that move, going from knights in shining armor in big castles to the Dark Knight in Wayne Manor is a logical move.

The idea behind the book is a good one - Batman is getting threats and clues relating to his parents and family secrets that would be best kept secret.  The fact that Batman, not his alter ego Bruce Wayne, is getting these threats is significant because it shows that the unknown person knows his secret identity.

While Batman is trying to work this out, it becomes clear that a new villain has arrived in Gotham and this villain has the ability to implant memories into his/her victims and some of those victims are other super villains and they are being made to act on this unknown person's behalf.

More disturbing, Commissioner Gordon has been compromised and Alfred has become shifty and secretive and sometimes confrontational with Bruce Wayne. Batman may be truly alone on this one...

The premise behind this audiobook is solid and some of its luster may have been lost in the adaptation - I don't know because I have not read the original book. For example (*****spoiler alert - skip to the next paragraph), the Commissioner Gordon angle comes up and then just goes away when Batman and Gordon decide that Gordon just has to get over it - and he does.

There are some real strengths however to this book. It makes a nod towards the almost every incarnation of Batman - Adam West's Batman, the 1980's and 1990's movies and the Dark Knight series (it was written before the Justice League movies came out).

 If you are a fan of Batman, certainly give it a listen. It features an aging Batman who knows that he has limitations. It develops a great origin story for Batman's parents and Alfred's father. The lengthy Joker scene is quite good (the actor who portrays Joker is excellent) and even has some comic elements.  But, it is a hit and miss story with lots of description of the various Batmobiles and Batman's suit technology but not enough of the plot where it really counts. 

The idea is strong, but some scenes are fleshed out and some are just left vague, leaving this listener with the feeling that this was a good story, but it could have been so much better. If you are a fan of Batman, certainly give it a listen.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: 
WAYNE of GOTHAM (audiobook) by Tracy Hickman.

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