Batman Unburied Review

By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review is spoiler-free.

Synopsis:

A psychological thriller which takes listeners on a “new journey deep into the mind of Bruce Wayne.” Listeners are introduced to a Batman who is a forensic pathologist in his civilian life, “working in the bowels of Gotham Hospital,” and tasked with examining the victims of Gotham City’s latest serial killer, The Harvester. Wayne has to navigate a series of dark twists and turns with some classic Batman villains and face his own mental demons in order to save the citizens of Gotham from The Harvester.

David S. Goyer returns to the world of Batman, but not as you know it!

The quality of Goyer’s writing really shows from start to finish in this series and he’s created such an interesting and unique Batman property. He blends the familiar with a fresh take and the two work really well together! This new approach to Batman, and the wider world of Gotham in general, takes a lot of story and character influences from a range of existing DC media, and I think this works as a great supplement coming off the back of The Batman!

Taking on the mantle of this new take on ‘Batman’ is Winston Duke (Dr Bruce Wayne) and for the most part, his version of Bruce is unique and very strong. However, there are a few moments when the performance levels dip slightly, and because the majority of his voice work is so good, you notice it a little more when he’s not reaching those high levels. With that said, he’s never bad, so his performance as Bruce is up there with the best of them! Continuing the theme of ‘new takes’, Gina Rodiguez (Barbara Gordon) takes her role to the next level and delivers the joint strongest performance of the series, a title she shares with the series’ villain…

Sam Witwer (The Harvester) delivers an exceptional performance that is both chilling and unsettling. This dark and disturbing character is a true antagonist throughout the series, and his presence over Gotham and the inhabitants cast a constant insidious shadow.

In the supporting roles, Hasan Minhaj (The Riddler), Lance Reddick (Thomas Wayne), and Jessica Marie Garcia (Renee Montoya) are the standouts, with Minhaj, in particular, rising above the rest as a huge asset to the production. John Rhys-Davies (Dr Hunter) and Jason Isaacs (Alfred) add a little stardust to the cast, and they leave a positive imprint on the experience.

As for the production, it’s pretty great! I have seen some talk on social media about this being the “best thing ever”, most of it coming from people with little exposure to this style of full-cast audio drama. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but as someone who has been exposed to such a large volume of audio productions, it’s very easy to see the flaws. First of all, the pacing is too fast! The story is a sprint, and the dialogue feels rushed, whether this was intended, or an issue caused in the edit, I’m not sure, but it hurts the quality overall. Given the great character performances and compelling story, the pacing and editing do these aspects a huge disservice. If this was allowed to breathe more, it really could have been ‘top tier’. With that said, the sound effects, music use, and other audio aspects are really strong. Like I said, it’s a great production.

Batman Unburied is a dark and disturbing tale that takes the characters and world of ‘the Batman’ and flips the script to deliver a unique and outstanding full-cast audio production – let down only by the edit which causes a key issue with the pacing. If allowed to breathe more, this could have been one of the greatest Batman stories ever told!

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