Review – Batman: The Terror by David Breitenbeck

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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14 thoughts on “Review – Batman: The Terror by David Breitenbeck

      • Ok, so torrentgalaxy is a torrent site. That was me trying to be delicate. So I’ll be blunt now 😀

        What is the difference to you between out right “theft” (not the correct term but close enough) of people using torrents to watch movies, etc that they don’t pay for, and sites like Ao3 and Ff which steal intellectual properties and encourage people to do the same?

        Or do you treat them as the same?

        Not trying to pick a fight, just wondering, since you’re an author, how’d you feel if someone put your books up on a torrent site and how that differs from people writing fanfiction?

        I hope I was clear? I’m not sure I was, so ask away if not.

        the reason I ask is because I like to know what people think about a subject and why and online piracy is a real hot button issue 😀 (at least among those of us over a certain age)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Outright theft of intellectual property – in this case, fiction – is copying and pasting someone else’s work, then claiming it as your own and attempting to sell it to make a profit.

        Fan fiction – whether it be fan films, fan writings like those found at Ao3 and Fan Fiction, or fanmade comics and art – is created by fans telling stories set in their favorite franchises for fun. Fan writers receive no monetary reimbursement for their work and they never claim anything but any characters they create originally for these types of stories as their own. Everyone knows they’re playing in someone else’s sandbox, and those who own the properties leave them alone for this reason. If a fan fic writer tries to sell his fan fiction story, claiming it is his own original work, then the owner of the IP would be within his rights to have him prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Most fan fic writers don’t do that, so their work doesn’t count as theft.

        From the sounds of it, Torrent Galaxy is a pirate site. That’s not the same thing as fan fiction at all. Pirating means someone is copying an existing story and posting it online for people to view/read for free, meaning the companies or individual authors are losing money. Pirates are hard to fight and hard to prosecute, so after a point, some of them end up being left alone. From your description, it sounds to me like Torrent Galaxy is a pirate site.

        Fan fiction is generally seen by authors as flattery, and so long as no one tries to make money off it, they don’t mind it. In some cases, authors even endorse well-written fan fiction and make it part of their universe: J.K. Rowling did this with the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” That story was written by someone else, not her, but she approved it nonetheless. The original Star Trek series and Star Trek: The Next Generation bought scripts written by fans and produced them as well (see “The Trouble with Tribbles” or “The Empath” for two examples from the original series). Others have landed editing jobs due to the quality of their fan fiction, while some publishers actively recruit budding writers who post fan fiction online for free while writing/publishing their own original stories with original characters and selling those. So fan fiction can be a way to break into the publishing world for some people.

        Fanfic is also a good way for beginning writers to practice their craft; as someone I know said, it’s like learning to ride a bike with training wheels. You have everything you need to make a story – all you have to do is apply your imagination and willpower. As long as it’s posted publicly and/or you don’t try to sell it as your own original idea, no one minds fan fiction or hunts down those who write it.

        So my opinion of fan fiction is that it’s useful and fun, as long as the writers are either trying to have fun/entertain others or practice their craft. Established writers may write fan fiction to amuse themselves or relax, too, which makes it helpful as well. Thus my opinion is that fan fiction written and posted responsibly is not a problem. Piracy and theft are, though, and from the sounds of it that is what Torrent Galaxy is: a pirate site, not a fan fiction site. The two items are mutually exclusive.

        Liked by 4 people

      • I agree with you about the difference between Fan-Fiction and piracy, but I have a comment on “posted responsibly is not a problem”.

        A few authors do have problems with fans playing in their “created worlds” for various reasons.

        David Weber, for example, does not want fan fiction of his works posted Where He Could Likely See Them. His concern is that some fan-writer might imagine that David Weber “stole” his work because David Weber used a “similar story line” in his own work. Apparently David Weber has heard of such events. David Weber knows that his fans might write stories set in his created world and IIRC has little problem with that as long as the fan-fiction isn’t posted in a site that he has been known to visit.

        So if somebody is wanting to write fan-fiction, the person should learn what the original creator thinks of it.

        Everything else you said about fan-fiction (like not writing it for profit) is very true.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ah, thank you, Paul! I’d forgotten David Weber’s point about fanfic and wanting to avoid it. Learning what the original creator thinks of fan fiction is definitely something a writer should consider, especially if they plan to post their work on a public site! 😀

        Like

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