Intended as a companion piece to the upcoming "The Dark Knight," the DVD-premiere "Batman: Gotham Knight" is a PG-13 animated feature with ambition to burn. Comprised of six interlocking stories, the film features the talents of an array of anime artists, rather than Americans, each tackling a segment. Thus, the caped crusader sports a different look with each piece, ranging from a sleek superhero to a supernatural wisp of mist to, well, a bat who stands upright like a man.

If you've seen "The Animatrix" "? the cartoon anthology that bested either of the "Matrix" sequels "? you get the idea. Here, Batman faces off against the villains Deadshot, Scarecrow and Killer Croc, while also assisting Gotham Central's finest. Although colorful, the stories don't really gel into a whole "? in fact, vignettes is a better word for them "? but the visuals are, as expected, amazing, reflecting the project's noir leanings.

Following closely on the heels of "The New Frontier," "Gotham Knight" largely bodes well for the continuation of the more adult-oriented DC Universe line. "Wonder Woman" is next up to bat, and previewed in a 10-minute segment on the first disc.

Disc two contains a pair of half-hour, fan-ready documentaries: one on the various characters, another on Batman creator Bob Kane. But what's most welcome is the inclusion of four choice episodes from the Nineties' critically acclaimed "Batman: The Animated Series," arguably without which, there would be no "Gotham Knight."

"?Rod Lott

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