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.
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:
And Batman bringing the Bat-Plane down on Gotham’s head:
The Caped Crusader is forced to call in the big guns — The Justice League. You’re in trouble now, Gotham:
… 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.”
“Cyborg, did you lose weight? You look like shit.”
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!
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:
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.
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:
Doesn’t really explain why Gotham’s fighting inexperience had him unable to handle Solomon Grundy in Batman #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:
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.