Before Playing Gotham City Impostors Read Batman: Impostors

Want to get more out of Monolith Productions upcoming downloadable multiplayer game Gotham City Impostors? Then you'll want to read Batman: Impostors, an epic four-issue story arc that first appeared in Detective Comics last year.

Gotham City Impostors is a cunning way to deliver a multiplayer Batman experience without having to worry about who plays the Dark Knight himself. Teams of players square off as either Batman or Joker impostors, creating their own customized takes on the characters' iconic costumes and doing battle in the streets of Gotham City.

If the plot sounds familiar to you, you may have already read Detective Comics 867 through 870. The four-issue story Batman: Impostors features a plot inspired by an early concept for the upcoming game.

Written by David Hine with art by the fantastic Scott McDaniel, Batman: Impostors opens with a Jokerz flash mob descending upon an upscale shopping mall. There's a new highly-addictive drug on the streets that gives users a rictus grin and the urge to create mayhem. It's a variant of the Joker's deadly laughing gas, only without the active killing ingredient.

During the mob incident one of the Jokerz opens fire on a police officer, and said officer retaliates, shooting multiple civilians in the process. The Jokerz respond en masse, marching on a Gotham City police station and opening fire on officers that had been ordered to leave their weapons empty to avoid further deaths. A dozen policemen fall in the ensuing riot.

Following the riot a mysterious figure clad in a makeshift Batman costume broadcasts a call to arms to the citizens of Gotham, resulting in an all-out war between the drug-crazed Jokerz and the impostor Batmen, calling themselves the Guardian Bats.

It's one of the better Batman arcs I've read in the past few years. Hine's story twists and turns towards a surprising conclusion, and McDaniel masterfully marries whimsy with violence to create a graphical style that's borderline disturbing, in a good way.

So head over to your local comic shop and see if they can dig up this excellent four-issue arc of Detective Comics for you, or wait until August for the trade paperback. How ever you obtain it, Batman: Impostors is a story no self-respecting Batman fan should miss.