Everyone knows who Batman is. Everyone knows how he watched his parents gunned down as a child on the streets of Gotham. Everyone knows how he dedicated his life and fortune to becoming a modern-day cross between Hector and Sherlock Holmes. Everyone knows how he took his one-man war on crime to the heart of Gotham, taking on the mob and an increasingly psychotic menagerie of super villains.
But this is not his story. It’s Gotham’s.
When Thomas and Martha Wayne are killed, hot-headed police rookie James Gordan promises their traumatized son that he will find the killer. But with the police in the mob’s pocket and an organized crime war on the horizon, justice is in short supply in Gotham. Paired with a corrupt partner and pressured by their superiors to close the case quickly, his investigation leads to an innocent man’s death. When he starts asking the wrong questions, however, he draws the attention of mob boss Fish Mooney, who refuses to allow one idealistic detective to derail her carefully laid plans.
Gotham understands that the real appeal of the Batman franchise is not its heroes, but its villains. Bruce Wayne is little more than an Easter egg: a supporting character that only exists to provide context to a cop drama with an especially flamboyant roster of criminals. Before we ever see the Waynes – who any other Batman series would have paraded out as its first order of business – we see a juvenile Selena Kyle pickpocket her way through a crowded street. When the Waynes do die, the focus is not on them – not even on their inconsolable son – but on her: the solemn witness to the crime. Rather than delve into Bruce’s grief, the series rapidly cuts to an investigation that introduces the Penguin, the Riddler, Poison Ivy and quite possibly the Joker in rapid succession. More time is devoted to even mundane mob bosses like Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone than in the young Batman-to-be. Continue Reading »