Fan fiction is not my usual topic for review, readers, but this story was too good not to write about – particularly since I beta read it for the author before it was published. 😉 One must take the opportunity to praise worthy stories, and The Terror is no exception. This three-chapter Batman fan story is bound to chill the blood and make you gasp in anticipation of what comes next. It kept me up until midnight the first time I read it, after all. I know whereof I speak!
The story follows the tone of Batman: The Animated Series*, adding some villains from the comics which never appeared in the show. Be advised that the T for Teen rating is earned; The Animated Series had more adult scenes and themes than a number of cartoons presently on the air, but The Terror is intense. In the words of the Pinkerton’s Ghosts intro, it is not intended for children.
From the first chapter blurb:
It seemed a night like any other in Gotham City, when word reached Batman of a death: one of the city’s rogues found brutally murdered. Then comes word of another. And another. A new terror is stalking Gotham, preying upon the city’s supervillains. But who is it? And what do they want?
Batman starts the night like any other: protecting property from being stolen by the elegant Catwoman who laments his lack of attention to her and her exploits lately. Their banter is interrupted by Alfred with a report for the Dark Knight. This ends the interview and sends Bruce to the infamous Iceberg Lounge. For those who do not remember or are not DC Comics* aficionados, the Iceberg Lounge is the lair of the Penguin.
Penguin made himself something of a mafia don in The Animated Series by setting up the Iceberg Lounge, an upper-class establishment for fine dining and entertainment for the rich and powerful. Of course, it also serves as a front for criminals with elite connections or personal wealth to broker deals with one another – and the Penguin, naturally. If there is something one of his fellow villains or crooks needs, then the Penguin will be happy to move it into Gotham for them. For a price, mind you.
So you can imagine Batman’s stark shock and surprise when he reaches the Lounge to confirm Alfred’s message: the Penguin is dead. Killed with one of his own deadly umbrellas. But while the number of people who would like to murder the Penguin is large, the manner of his death doesn’t make sense. Who could wield even one of the villain’s own umbrellas with enough force to pin the fat little man to the wall?
Further deaths in the night follow the same pattern. A notorious serial murderer is found dead by his own knife, Killer Croc is bitten to pieces and left floating below the pier where the Joker had his latest round of “fun” planned for the Dark Knight. Clayface is discovered mixed in with the cement of an active construction site, and the city is jubilant at the demise of such terrible monsters.
Batman is not. This isn’t the right way to clean up the streets, and the murders are brutal. What happens when an innocent person or a reformed criminal lands in the sights of The Terror, as this mysterious killer comes to be known?
When more of the Batman’s enemies begin turning up dead, the situation escalates quickly. The murders send both the Gotham underworld and the regular citizenry into a panic, and Batman soon finds himself the prime suspect in the killing spree. Who else has the reason – or the capability – to remove the criminal element from the streets permanently?
As the clock ticks down, the Dark Knight is pushed to his intellectual limits to solve the case. But can he do it before he becomes the Terror’s next victim? Or will the world’s greatest detective fail in his most important mission yet?
Mr. Breitenbeck ably captures the spirit of Batman: The Animated Series while at the same time he injects a high level of tension and dread into The Terror. The story does credit to the source material and proves just what a good author can do with someone else’s universe. If you want a preview of Mr. Breitenbeck’s skills as a storyteller, I would be hard-pressed to point to a better example. The Terror didn’t keep me up at all hours for no reason, readers!
Batman’s character is well handled, as is the portrayal of his enemies and his allies. This is one of the best Batman stories I have read, and I truly felt like it was the last installment in The Animated Series. That is how well Mr. Breitenbeck knows his material; I was convinced this was a lost episode of one of the best Batman* series in existence. Although the finale had been shared with me beforehand by the author, getting there was a worthwhile ride indeed!
You can read The Terror through the link here, as well as another fan fiction piece by Mr. Breitenbeck. While this writer wasn’t privileged to beta read that piece, she did enjoy it immensely. Godzilla and My Little Pony fans are sure to like it as well. 😉
In addition, if you want to read more official fiction by Mr. Breitenbeck, I recommend picking up Adventure Stories for Young Readers,* which includes his latest original short story: “Fate of a Rider.” This author got to beta read that tale as well, and it is worth the purchase price for the entire anthology – and then some! His fan fiction is good, indisputably so. But his original fiction is better.
Don’t wait, readers! Click the link for The Terror and start reading it today, then swing by Amazon to purchase Adventure Stories for Young Readers. You won’t regret it, I promise!
*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer.
If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna, Uranus, and Sol. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020, and she recently had a story published in Storyhack Magazine’s 7th Issue and Cirsova Magazine’s 2021 Summer Issue. Order them today!
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