Batman – Breakdown | 2012 | Gonzo Planet | Alex Shaw & David Hartrick

Wow, this one is tough. I adored it but its faults are obvious. Though, its failings are only due to the limitations of what I assume was a practically nonexistent budget and lack of experience of the creators.

I’ll say first that the writing is excellent. I loved every minute in the hour of this production because of the writing. As I listened, I found it easy to forgive every other flaw in the production because of the story and the dialogue. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s the best Batman audio theater I’ve ever heard. Though, I could count on one hand how many I’ve heard even if I’d been born with two fingers missing on that hand.
And one was by Dirk Maggs, so of course I didn’t like it.

But the ending was overboard, I think. I don’t know. Maybe this would be an acceptable scenario to the Batman mythos hardcores. I’m not one. Wouldn’t even consider myself more than a casual fan of Batman. So, what would I know about plausibility in this particular fictional universe?

Anyway, this production is far from perfect. Really far.
The casting and the characterizations aren’t great. But, I suspect they may be imitations of the characters in the modern Batman cartoons – I wouldn’t know since I’ve never watched them. But, the voice of Batman is solid. Though, he has his bad moments. These are mostly British actors – and amateurs at that – so, not only do their accents sometimes peek through, but it could be they’re simply overdoing an American accent.

As I listened, I kept thing that this is the full realization of what fan audio theater CAN be. The producers have the same resources as every other fan-made production yet these creators use them SO much better. Compare this production to Batman – No Man’s Land, which is a prime example of really bad fan-made audio theater.

Everything technical in this production I would rate good to great use of what they had available – the editing, the music choices, the skilled use of that music, the sound effects (even when obvious free sound effects library website clips), the great use of even silence and whispers. This sound is dramatic and bold but also spends a lot of time hushed and intimate. It just sounds great. Though, it is a bit hollow log-y.
And, they did a very rare thing for audio theater – you can download an in-depth, lengthy, mostly fascinating making-of in two parts. Oh, how I wish everyone did this.

I listened to this TWICE just to be sure it really was as good as I thought the first time through. It was. Better, I say. So, I’m gonna grade on a curve, ignore the flaws, and give it an A- and am most certainly keeping a copy of it.

And now, I’m in a big hurry to hear their followup production – The Killing Joke, universally agreed to be one of the greatest Batman stories ever told. Sadly, the audio theater careers of Alex Shaw, et al. apparently ended there – I can find nothing made since.

Batman – Breakdown

What you are about to hear is my first full-length audio play. It was designed to be enjoyed by comic fans but also to people who are only familiar with the Nolan films the Arkham video games or the Animated Series.
I wanted to write something significant, honest and authentic about the Batman legend and with a lot of help from long-time serious Bat-fan, David Hartrick, I was able to shape a series of ideas into a hopefully coherent story. None of the cast, including myself are professional actors, but we all worked very hard to capture the essence of the characters we portrayed.
The writing, organisation and editing all of this together took dozens of hours, but it’s been equal parts exhausting and rewarding. I’d of course ideally love to see this adapted into a comic mini-series or animated movie someday (hint, hint, DC).
Oh and for Batman enthusiasts, take note, this is an Elseworlds tale that takes place after the 2005 storyline Under the Hood, but before the 2006 storyline Infinite Crisis.

One thought on “Batman – Breakdown | 2012 | Gonzo Planet | Alex Shaw & David Hartrick

  1. Thought you’d like to know Alex’s audio theatre career didn’t end here – far from it. He set up a new alternative history, multiverse fiction called New Century, which is currently on its fifth ‘book’. You can find the latest episodes here: http://newcenturyshow.podbean.com/ and the full audiobooks here: http://newcentury.bandcamp.com/

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