Our third week where we recommend graphic novels and trades that people may have missed and today it’s Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, by Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola & P Craig Russell and Eduardo Barreto. For a number of years, DC published a range of stories under their Elseworlds banner, which was a little bit like their equivalent of Marvel’s What If stories. Here we have two tales of a Bruce Wayne living in a late Victorian steampunk Gotham City. Both are very enjoyable but tonally are quite different. The first one, Gotham by Gaslight, has Wayne battling with Jack The Ripper, who this time has reappeared in Gotham a decade after his murderous rampage in London. Gotham by Gaslight predates Mignola’s Hellboy and so artistically it isn’t as accomplished as his creator-owned work. But Craig Russell is a good choice to embellish Mignola’s pencils here and there is a gothic elegance to Augustyn’s inventive story thanks to Mignola and Russell’s art. Master of The Future is set in the same alternate world as Gotham by Gaslight but this time Augustyn is joined by Uruguayan artist Eduardo Barreto who works more in the classic newspaper strip vein rather than Mignola. Visually, it is equally beautiful but there is a sense of pulpish derring-do than the gothic atmosphere of its progenitor. Master of The Future has a Zorro-like sense of adventure to it and the contrast between the shade of the first story and the light of the second makes for a refreshing collection. DC didn’t do any more with the alternate Bruce Wayne and Batman which is a real shame. This book gets to the heart of why Batman continues to be an enduring creation and why he lends himself to a wide variety of stories and approaches.