Batman's story has been told innumerable times; and the nice thing about the Elseworlds series of books is that it allows for yet another telling. In Howard Chaykin's hands, this is a good thing, and his Thrillkiller makes for a completely new version that manages to be both faithful and completely reckless. It's a fantastic addition to the Batman mythos.
For once, our story starts elsewhere: it's the 1960s, but not the Summer of Love--this is the American '60s of Beat Poets and a nation still struggling to throw off the shackles of 1950s conformity and repression. It's an era in which institutions are corrupt and almost nobody questions them--something the buxom (but healthily proportioned) Batgirl and her sidekick Robin aim to do something about. But vigilantes aren't welcome in Gotham City, so rising star (and honest cop) Det. Bruce Wayne is assigned to both end the corruption in the GCPD as well as to bring in the not-so-caped crusaders.
In Chaykin's hands, the entire mythos is changed: Wayne is penniless and Barbara Gordon, mostly estranged from her Police Commissioner father, occupies stately Wayne Manner. The Joker, never referred to here by that name, is as vicious and twisted as ever, but her protégé may trump her yet. Dan Brereton's art is a masterpiece: painted panels that exude the noir of the story; and his re-imagined costumes may be the most striking yet. --Randy Silver