If you’ve been following Tom King’s “Rebirth” Batman then you know all about Gotham; not the infamous city Batman calls home, but the character — a genetically enhanced superhuman (roughly at Superman’s level) that proclaims himself protector of the Dark Knight’s stomping grounds in Batman #1.

batman-1-gotham-and-gotham-girl

As you might have guessed, another superhero in Gotham that’s not part of the Bat-Family doesn’t sit well with Batman once it’s clear that their methodologies drastically differ. (Hint: Gotham breaks Batman’s golden rule.)

Batman, pre-planning son of a gun that he is, isn’t without a plan to bring Gotham down. After a fun sequence that includes Alfred suiting up and blindsiding the rogue superhero:

batman-5-alfred-batmobile

batman-5-mph

batman-5-batmobile-gotham

And Batman bringing the Bat-Plane down on Gotham’s head:

batman-5-batplane-a

batman-5-batplane

batman-5-batplane-2

The Caped Crusader is forced to call in the big guns — The Justice League. You’re in trouble now, Gotham:

batman-5-justice-league

… Or are you? What many of us expected to be an epic battle between the world’s most powerful superheroes and an inexperienced, albeit powerful one, quickly turns into a one-sided affair.

“Get your paws off my cape, damned dirty Kryptonian.”

>batman-5-punches-superman

“Cyborg, did you lose weight? You look like shit.”

batman-5-cyborg

Apparently Aquaman’s offense was so pathetic it took place off panel. Don’t worry guys, he’s got Gotham right where he wants him — just let him finish eating these enormous chunks of debris first!

batman-5-gotham-vs-justice-league

Green Lanterns, wow. Just do better, please. (Apparently after Jessica’s initial “attack,” Simon “noped” the fuck outta there.)

And Flash, now would’ve been a good time to use your super speed for something else than running really fast into someone’s fist.

Here Wonder Woman demonstrates why she would have made a lousy cattle wrangler:

batman-5-gotham-vs-wonder-woman

Alright, Round 2 with Superman. You had a good run, Gotham, but the show’s over; this is where Superman, who has surely been holding back the entire time, puts a stop to your shenanigans by freeze-breathing you into a giant Chumpsicle. Or one-shotting you into orbit. Or heat-visioning your little Gothams into… well you get the point.

Apparently Gotham has other ideas. Dude punches Superman so hard that the only trace of Kal-El is a blood splatter in the last panel.

batman-5-punches-superman-2

Do you know how fucking hard a character has to be able to punch to do that to Superman? We’re talking some Doomsday/Darkseid shit here.

Batman deduces that Gotham’s powers “aren’t fixed” and that he can acclimate according to his enemy’s power level:

batman-5-gotham-powers

Doesn’t really explain why Gotham’s fighting inexperience had him unable to handle Solomon Grundy in Batman #2:

batman-2-gotham-vs-grundy

batman-2-gotham-vs-grundy-2

But able to squash the Justice League with ease; I suppose Grundy didn’t elicit quite the same response (AKA “red-eyed rage mode”) in Gotham’s power levels as the world’s premiere superhero team. And to be fair, by taking on the Justice League for even that short duration, Gotham burned himself out. Fatally:

batman-5-gotham-dead

Still, how often do we see a character, no matter how powerful they are, roll through the JL without even getting knocked down? Given what we know about Gotham and Gotham Girl’s creation and motives (and the foreboding possibility that Amanda Waller was heavily involved with both) we can only infer that there are more test subjects like them out there. And if one of them can completely bury the Justice League for even an ephemeral moment… just imagine what a whole gang of them can do. With more concentrated efforts to boot.

Was Gotham’s curbstomping of the Justice League conducive to Tom King’s narrative? Or should Gotham’s feats have been further developed for an impact that was more “earned” than having the Justice League job to him? Sound off in the comments.

  • Steve Baum

    I thought that the JL were needlessly made to look like chumps. Batman must have been facepalming in the cave later about FINALLY needing to call in the big guns in HIS city and then watching them get owned as they stupidly attacked one by one. Maybe King was trying to make the JL look overconfident, but once they realized they were facing a real threat there would have been a LOT of other ways for Gotham to be taken down, given the multiple powers and abilities at hand. I call foul and I’m not even that big a fan of the overpowered Justice League/Avengers-style teams.

    • Durango Doug

      Although I agree the JL were made out as chumps to some degree in Batman #5, perhaps I should play devil’s advocate and look at it from their point of view. They were likely given, “There’s this new superhero in Gotham. Yeah, he’s snapped — but he’s still a young dude and he did it because of his parents. I kind of feel bad for him. Come in and put him down, but take it easy on him, will ya?” as the modus operandi for taking Gotham in.

      What we saw was the JL coming in to take down a threat and “taking it easy.” At least initially. They were soon overwhelmed when Gotham goes into rage mode, but what we saw was only their initial response. Their methodology, especially for containment of an enemy were still poor in that initial response, don’t get me wrong, but who knows what would have happened once they had time to react to Gotham’s red-eyed mode.

  • Steve Baum

    It’s all too bad, really. Seems like a waste of a good character. I liked Gotham a lot. I thought it would be interesting for Gotham City to have its own darker “Superman” and that there might be a few good stories that would come from having a super-powered member of the “Bat-Family”. Nice costume design too.

  • Stelios Ioannou

    I agree with Steve Baum.Gotham was a very interesting character though he could have chosen a better name(Captain Gotham maybe?).Anyway,he had the potentials to become a cool hero,kinda like a dark Superman,too bad they wasted him so early.
    P.S. Anybody else believes that Gotham’s and Gotham Girl’s powers were a “gift” from Dr Manhattan(a good opportunity to use him)?Just remember when Gotham Girl said they could choose to be humans for decades,supermen for years,or gods for a few hours…