Gotham: Dawn of Darkness Review

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Titan Books has released a new novel around the prequel to the FOX Network hit DC Show, Gotham. In Gotham: Dawn of Darkness, we discovered the immediate past before the show takes place, and Bruce Wayne is an orphan after a disastrous mugging gone wrong.

Gotham: Dawn of Darkness by Jason Starr takes place before the start of the TV show, and we learn new information about the Wayne family and the skeletons that hide in their closet. Characters such as Harvey Bullock, Amanda Wong, Thomas Wayne, Martha Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne, and Hugo Strange make their appearance in this intricate and compelling novel Gotham: Dawn of Darkness.

We’re immediately met with an interesting start as a break-in at Wayne Manor is happening with unknown circumstances or motive other than stealing a Picasso “Le Picador”. As a detective of the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) Harvey Bullock, played by actor Donal Logue in the show is one of the main characters of this novel as a lead investigator to discover the location of the million dollar painting, and also how they broke into the Wayne residence. Partnered with Amanda Wong, they have their own relationship problems working together at the GCPD as detectives are corrupted and Amanda doesn’t want any to do with it – and even wants to stop it.

Thomas Wayne has his own opinions of the break-in, and immediately thinks his old enemy Hugo Strange from Pinewood Farms is trying to find his personal files of the incident. As a prime investor in Strange’s genetic studies, Thomas only found out too late that he was experimenting on patients with animal DNA – which lead to malformations and death. With only one survivor, Karen Jennings, Strange would want to tie up loose ends to ensure his future studies go off without issues.

Meanwhile the backstory to Bruce Wayne is given throughout the novel as he starts out as a fourteen-year old young man brought up the best way his parents could. Living the privileged life of being a Wayne, Bruce is able to attend Anders Preparatory Academy, but denied his wishes of learning boxing by his mother as it is too dangerous by her opinion.

Following the story in Dawn of Darkness, it tells of the struggle Thomas Wayne faced to keep Wayne Enterprise in good standing, hiding his involvement in Pinewood Farms, and ensure his wife Martha and son Bruce are safe. After the break-in at his house, Thomas seeks out a Private Investigator Frank Collins to look into Hugo Strange and ensure he isn’t behind the incidences. When this resource doesn’t pan out as he expected Thomas seeks out Hugo himself and lays his cards on the table and confronts him about the break-in, theft, and threatens him to stop any plans he has.

Once Hugo discovers that Thomas is onto him, he kills off any involved in the break-in at Wayne Manor and forfeits the Picasso painting to keep the GCPD off his trails. In his own perspective during the book, Hugo reveals he wants to take over Arkham Asylum.

During the end of the book we are lead to what we expected that would happen before the finish. When Martha and Thomas Wayne are out at a movie with Bruce they are confronted in an alley and though their possessions are stolen, it’s implied the mugger pulls the trigger in the end and ends the lives of Bruce’s parents.

Gotham: Dawn of Darkness delves into the corruption of the GCPD, the backstories of major characters leading some to their demise, and a full lead-up to the Gotham FOX TV series. As a prequel it is a perfect addition to the show and fills in some of the gaps that we have missed as the TV show has progressed.

I really enjoyed reading Gotham: Dawn of Darkness, learning a background to a popular TV show that has mesmerized viewers and DC Comic fans around the world. While I didn’t enjoy the view-points of the book being changed each chapter from the Waynes, to GCPD, to Hugo Strange – without having these changes we wouldn’t learn as much about what each character thoughts and acted upon.

Gotham: Dawn of Darkness is a perfect addition and I would recommend it to any fan of Gotham and the DC Comics. You can purchase it on January 31st 2017 from Titan Books for $7.99 USD.


  • Answers TV Show Questions
  • Fantastic Connection with Show
  • Backstories Explained
  • Leads Up to Show


  • Point-of-View Changes Each Chapter


Length of Book - 8
Connection with TV Series - 10
Backstory - 9.5
Intriguing Scenarios - 9
An avid gamer, journalist, literary reviewer, and lover of all things Marvel; wrapped in a colorful hair-do.

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