In 1928, Bruce Wayne returns to the city of Gotham twenty years after a mad man killed his parents out in the streets. He had investigated a failed expedition into the Arctic and finds everyone had gone insane, one of the members having been transformed into something unnatural. As Batman, he grows to find that whatever horrors there were lurking exist in Gotham. He must find the cause of this outbreak of horrors before the world comes to an end.
Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham is an Elseworld comic that reimagines Batman as the protagonist of a Cosmic Horror Story and is overall an Homage to the collective works of H. P. Lovecraft. It is written by Mike Mignola and Richard Pace, and illustrated by Troy Nixey and Dennis Janke.
An Animated Adaptation of the story was released in March 2023, featuring David Giuntoli as Batman, Tati Gabrielle as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham as Green Arrow, John DiMaggio as Commissioner Gordon, Patrick Fabian as Two-Face, Brian George as Alfred, Jason Marsden as Dick Grayson and young Bruce Wayne, Karan Brar as Sanjay Tawde, David Dastmalchian as Grendon, Navid Negahban as Ra's al Ghul, Emily O'Brien as Talia al Ghul and Martha Wayne, Tim Russ as Lucius Fox, Matthew Waterson as Etrigan, Jeffrey Combs as Kirk Langstrom, William Salyers as Penguin, Gideon Adlon as Barbara Gordon, and Darin De Paul as Thomas Wayne.
This comic provides examples of:
- Adaptation Personality Change: Oliver Queen's mainstream counterpart — Green Arrow — is a wisecracking Jerk with a Heart of Gold based off of Robin Hood. Here he's a religious hero dressed like a 12th-century crusader who believes it is his destiny to kill Ra's al Ghul and end his devilry. He's also known for being a total joke compared to other heroes in the DC Universe, and this remains the case considering he's assassinated by Poison Ivy before he could even try to stop Ghul's Evil Plan.
- Adaptational Abomination: Being a Lovecraft-homage in Batman form, a lot of Batman's more outlandish rogue's gallery are reinterpreted as Eldritch Abominations or made into one through dark forces.
- Mister Freeze is portrayed as a man who was driven mad and transformed into an undead-being that freezes everything around him, obsessed with unleashing his dark master.
- While Pamela Isley was an eco-terrorist that gave herself Green Thumb powers in the mainstream DC-universe, here Poison Ivy was a potted plant turned into a Botanical Abomination by Ra's al Ghul.
- Ludvig Prinn was originally a necromancer who supposedly lived to be 500 years old, having authored his own evil spellbook. Here, he was a cultist who, after being imprisoned in the catacombs beneath Gotham, became a reptilian monster.
- His father having been cursed with immortality from the Testament of Ghul, Batman is revealed to be one. He's The Chosen One destined to thwart Ra's al Ghul's plan of summoning Iou-Sotha and permanently transforms into Man-Bat to accomplish this.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- In most continuities, Harvey Dent is driven homicidally insane after becoming Two-Face, often already having unstable mental illness beforehand. In this story, no such thing happens, and he remains kind and optimistic even after being forcibly transformed into a living Hellgate.
- Both the Penguin and Kirk Langstrom are also not villains in this continuity, although in the former's case this is because he is driven insane and forsakes his humanity to live amongst the Antarctic penguins before the story begins, and the latter already being dead by the time we see him, therefore not even having a chance to become Man-Bat.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Ra's al Ghul was a lot of things — cult-leader, killer, egomaniac — but his aspirations boiled down to a desire to bring about a just world for humanity. This version is an Evil Sorcerer whose desire is to please his god, this thing capable of driving all of humanity to madness and destroying the world.
- A more minor example. Thomas Wayne in this continuity took part in unspeakable eldritch rituals which would inadvertently lead to an elder god potentially ending the world and helped to beat a man to near-death in the name of making Gotham successful at any cost.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- These versions of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake are just regular people and have no particular fighting abilities. Jason is killed offscreen by Mister Freeze, without even getting a chance to react to boot, and Dick is quickly ripped to pieces by Croc.
- This version of Barbara Gordon is also paralyzed to the point she cannot even physically speak or even move her arms, unlike the main continuity Oracle who was still a capable fighter in her wheelchair. This is because she gave up her body so that she could speak to the dead and serve as their vessel.
- Anyone Can Die: Over the course of the story, Dick, Jason, and Oliver are killed very suddenly and in Jason's case, totally offscreen. The Joker Immunity of the main continuity Batman villains is also totally averted here. Ra's, Talia, Mister Freeze, Croc, Poison Ivy, Harvey Dent, and Kirk Langstrom are all killed off, and only the Penguin survives.
- Ascended Extra: The mainstream version of Ludvig Prinn was a minor character that only appeared in a single issue of Journey into Mystery. Here he was a hedge-wizard who found the Testament of Ghul and cursed the founders of Gotham with immortality, one of which was Thomas Wayne.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: It's right there on the cover. Downplayed though: the cover shows that this isn't your typical Batman story and the stakes are higher, but within the story Bruce has no rule against or distaste for using guns, and his parents were instead stabbed to death, averting the usual excuse for this.
- The Chosen Wannabe: Oliver Queen believes he is the one destined to stop Ra's al Ghul, having trained himself and procured the arrows that had slain St. Sebastian to do it. He is then killed by Poison Ivy, Batman ends up taking the arrows and finishing his mission for him.
- Composite Character:
- In the mainstream DC universe, Ludvig Prinn was D-list character, alchemist and necromancer who authored The Mysteries of the Worm. Here, he was a wizard who, in his attempts to have the founders of Gotham City join his cult, was imprisoned beneath the city. He subsisted on the fungus that grew in the catacombs and eventually transformed into a monstrous creature that serves Ra's al Ghul. The monster is described as being reptilian and has an appearance that evokes both Batman villain Killer Croc and Swamp Thing.
- This version of Man-Bat is an alternate form of Batman.
- Decomposite Character: Dr. Langstrom did not turn into Man-Bat in this version. That honor instead goes to Batman himself, who transforms into a bat creature when he fights Ra's al Ghul.
- Driven to Madness: Everyone who didn't die horribly from The Cobblepot Expedition ship wound up devolving into madness. Professor Cobblepot himself is seen walking around naked in the sub-zero temperatures, having become a part of a waddle of penguins, while Mister Freeze is transformed into a crazed undead, desperately trying to free the Monster in the Ice that did this to him.
- Eldritch Abomination: The main antagonist is an elder god known as Iog-Sotha which Ra's claims created life on Earth "a million million years ago". He takes the form of a massive, amorphous mass of tentacles and fins with no discernible beginning or end. The son of Iog-Sotha, Yib-Nogeroth, also appears, frozen in ice, briefly at the beginning.
- Eldritch Transformation:
- Mister Freeze was once an ordinary human on the Cobblepot Expedition. When they find Yib-Nogeroth frozen in an iceberg, it turns Freeze into an undead monster that gives off an aura that freezes everything around him. His ice-suit is used to keep the cold in, whereas his canon-counterpart had the opposite problem.
- Ra's al Ghul creates Poison Ivy to curse Harvey Dent. First it manifests as an ugly rash that spreads to the entire left-side of his body, only for it to grow more and more grotesque. By the time Batman finds him, his flesh had turned into a Meat Moss that makes up a portal to an Eldritch Location, what remains of Dent begging to be put out of his misery.
- Fusion Fic: While this is fundamentally a Batman story, some of the characters were deliberately made to be references to Lovecraft characters.
- Ra's al Ghul has a lot in common with the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. Both were Middle-Eastern sorcerers who wrote a Tome of Eldritch Lore after visiting an ancient city in the desert and were seen torn to pieces by an invisible monster in a marketplace.
- This incarnation of Mister Freeze strongly calls to mind Dr. Muñoz from Lovecraft's short story "Cool Air", both made undead and prevented from decomposing using cold temperatures. In both cases, being eventually exposed to room temperature results in them rapidly melting away into rotting sludge.
- Holy Burns Evil: Batman is able to kill Ra's, his werewolf minions, and destroy the Testament of Ghul using the bloodstained arrows of Saint Sebastian, which incinerate all the unholy entities on contact.
- Lizard Folk: Ra's learned the secrets of the elder gods and all manner of unspeakable arcane rituals when he uncovered a tomb belonging to a race of now-extinct serpent people that predated mankind, and used necromantic spells to wrestle their dark secrets from the mummies.
- Lovecraft Lite: Despite being a Batman story heavily inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos, it lacks one crucial element of a true Cosmic Horror Story: the hopelessness and futility of humanity's struggles. With his knowledge and determination, Batman is ultimately able to overcome Ra's and, with Etrigan's help, seal away Iou-Sotha for all eternity, forever preventing the end of days from coming to pass.
- Noble Demon: This version of Etrigan was created for the express purpose of killing Iou-Sotha should it try to escape its imprisonment.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Oliver Queen plays the part of the Idle Rich man who wastes his money on frivolous vacations and spends his time hunting exotic animals. In reality, he spends all of his "vacation time" training his body and has been working to prevent The End of the World as We Know It.