“Batman: Dead White” by John Shirley 

“Batman: Dead White”
by John Shirley
Multicast performance
Produced by GraphicAudio
Approx 6 hours.

Once again I have to dive into a great comic book turned novel turned audio book.  Actually this one was just a novel turned audio book.  This book was written to tie in to the reimagining of “Batman” movies, that began with the movie “Batman Begins” released in 2005.  Maybe someday they’ll turn it into a comic book, but it won’t be your regular comic.  This one is dark and deals with some very dark subject matter, even at the beginning of the audio book they warn of adult language and racial epithets.

So in the continuity of the Batman world this audio book takes place 18 months after the events in “Batman Begins” and before the sequel “The Dark Knight.”  The story involves a white supremacist leader of Gotham City’s racist group the Bavarian Brotherhood.  As is well known from the the Dark Knight run of Batman comics, Gotham City is full of corrupt cops, in this story some of them are even members of the Bavarian Brotherhood.  The caped crusader and (now) Captain Gordon are the city’s, and what turns out to be the nation’s last best hope.

Before we get into the meat of the story here, I have to let you know about the audio production in this book.  If you’ve ever heard a GraphicAudio audio book production you would be full aware of their superb mix of sound effects and music to move the story along.  That and the great voice acting involved, creates the “Movie in your Mind” that GraphicAudio promises.  In many scenes in this book there are gunfights, but these gunfights involve newly created weapons and artillery that work like no other weapons, GraphicAudio has created the sound effects that bring these things to life.  Looks like Bruce Wayne isn’t the only one with a super R&D department.  GraphicAudio really knows how to make a book come to life.

Now this story takes place in the development of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman and protecting Gotham City.  While the city is full of crooked cops Bruce Wayne is out to protect the common citizens.  One night while patrolling the city, Batman thwarts a shipment of guns coming in to a racist leader, White Eyes.  White Eyes men are moving a special automatic weapon called “The Dread” that the most advanced weapon creators have only heard of plans for, never a working model, this gun fires shotgun sized slugs at the rate of an Uzi.  Dangerous for anyone let alone a racist group bent on world domination.

During the raid one of the few not crooked cops, Cormac Sullivan, sees Batman protect an innocent security guard by shielding him and taking the bullets.  When the crooked cops then try to unmask “the bat” Cormac stands guard until Captain Gordon shows up.  Batman then tells Cormac that he owes him one and gives Cormac a codeword to say to Gordon and Batman will help.  Cormac decides he cannot put up with the crooked police department and returns to California to find and help his Meth addicted son.

In the meantime Batman is struggling with inner demons and seems to be slipping.  He loses a suspect, his aim is off and lots more, can he still go on being the hero Gotham needs?

Cormac brings his son back east to detox on a camping trip but on the trip to the mountains they run into the training camp for the Bavarian Brotherhood.  The horrors uncovered and the plans of horrors to come lead to Cormac seeking Batman’s help and soon the battle between White Eyes and Batman takes place.  With Batman’s struggles and White Eyes super strength the future is bleak.

In a dark Dark Knight story, Batman is still a hero and the action is not to be missed from this story.