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Batman: Inferno
Alex Irvine
Multicast performance, adaptation
GraphicAudio, 7 hours

Batman: Inferno
Alex Irvine
Alex Irvine was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in Ypsilanti. He taught for 5 years at the universities of Maine and Denver while working his way through school. He has completed the courses for a Ph.D. in English at the University of Denver. He now lives in Portland, Maine with his wife and 2 children.

Alex Irvine Website
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SF Site Review: A Scattering of Jades

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

I think I may have just listened to the best Batman story ever. It's a simple plot featuring two villains -- a new one named Enfer and the best Batman villain ever, The Joker. Not only was the story captivating and entertaining, but the production has gone beyond my expectations of GraphicAudio productions.

One thing I've noticed about DC comics is that it's not necessary for stories to rely on a running continuity as long as they stick to the main theme of Batman. I'm not sure where this book would fit in any particular story arc, but it would make a great sequel to the 2008 movie blockbuster, The Dark Knight. Events in this story take place just as Bruce Wayne/Batman is building his batcave. He's only been protecting Gotham City for a couple of years and The Joker has recently been sent to Arkham Asylum, which is run by Dr. Jonathan Crane.

The Dark Knight run of Batman comics, books and movies does have a darker side with more sinister villains for Batman to contend with and this audiobook definitely has a Dark Knight feel to it. In fact, the audiobook contains the warning, "Due to subject matter, Batman: Inferno contains realistically harsh language that may be offensive to some." So, you have been warned.

Before discussing the plot, I have to talk about the production of this audiobook. I have reviewed several GraphicAudio productions and I am always impressed with the acting, sound effects and incidental music. So, I was prepared for GraphicAudio's promise of "A Movie in Your Mind" experience. But this time around, that was an extreme understatement -- this production blew me away. The main plot revolves around the power of fire and the production conveyed that in a very believable way.

I was extremely impressed by the voice work of Richard Rohan, the actor who does triple duty as the story narrator while also voicing Batman and The Joker. He does a smash-up job and never once in the production is there even a hint that the same person narrating is either Batman or The Joker. The Joker has been portrayed by several great actors through television and the movies, including Ceasar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. In the movies, the Heath Ledger Joker gained infamy for being so dark. This Joker story is also dark and Rohan borrows a bit from Ledger, yet you can hear some of Nicholson's and Romero's Joker as well. The result is a unique character that Rohan makes all his own, while still paying homage to the classics.

As the story opens, Gotham City is burning and the police are still unsure about the intentions of the Caped Crusader, Batman. Batman doesn't worry too much about public opinion, focusing on his goal to keep Gotham City safe. As for the burning city, Batman is doing everything he can to find out who is starting all of the fires and what he can do to stop the firebug. Batman discovers that the up-and-coming villain goes by the moniker of Enfer, the French word for Hell.

Enfer wants to convince The Joker that they could become allies, but The Joker is locked up in Arkham Asylum. Enfer blows up the Asylum, allowing all the super-powered villians to escape, including The Joker. It's not long before the Gotham City Police have their hands full. While making his escape, The Joker happens upon some underground tunnels that take him to the lair of Batman. The Joker kidnaps Alfred, the trusty butler, and steals a costume and the Bat-Mobile, yes THE BAT-MOBILE! He then terrorizes Gotham City posing as Batman.

Is stopping a maniacal arsonist, capturing escaped criminals, rescuing Alfred, and fighting for his reputation more than Batman can handle? Treat yourself to a great audiobook and find out.

Copyright © 2010 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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