Before the Dark Knight in FOX’s Gotham
There has been no escape from comic books in the media recently. Superhero movies have proven to be some of the highest grossing films, and television quickly followed suit. Marvel aired “Agents of Shield” and “Agent Carter” in an effort to build their universes while DC comics flooded the airwaves with their properties like, “Arrow,” “Constantine,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl.” All of DC’s shows thus far have their characters in the height of their escapades, except for FOX’s response to superheroes, “Gotham.”
Batman is considered one of the big three of DC Comics. He is one of the most recognizably costumed heroes of all time. At this point, more people know his origin story than people know who the current speaker of the house is. Most are aware Batman became the avenging crusader he is today because his parents were murdered in front of him as a child. “Gotham” tells the audience what happened immediately after that event.
“Gotham” follows the journey of a young Bruce Wayne as he tries to uncover the truth about his parents’ murder. In the pursuit of information, he befriends detective James Gordon, future police commissioner of Gotham City. The show is just as much Gordon’s tale as it is Bruce’s. When he joins the Gotham police, the force is corrupt and a majority of the officers have dealings with the local mob.
In season one, there are multiple crime families in Gotham. The conflict comes from a war brewing between the families as they struggle for supremacy in Gotham. Leading the campaign is Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith. Mooney attempts to overthrow Carmine Falcone, the current Mob Kingpin of Gotham, but in the process causes the rise of one of the most well-known gangsters in the Batman universe– the Penguin.
The show focuses on a young Bruce Wayne and also painstakingly introduces the audience to a majority of the rogues in Batman’s gallery. Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, is an underling of Mooney’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who is a teenaged cat burglar. Edward Nygma, the Riddler, is an analyst at the Gotham City police force.
The show places just as much, if not more, emphasis on the soon-to-be villains as on Bruce and Jim. The second season has been titled “Rise of the Villains” and has hinted at adding more to the show’s already impressive roster. Prior to the mid-season finale, the show hinted at including Mister Freeze among others.
The show often has the audience guessing at what will happen to certain characters. For a while, the series followed a red-haired, red herring and had viewers convinced it was actually Batman’s greatest foe, but the theory was quickly shot down and left in the dust.
The show comes, proudly, outside of the actual Batman cannon. As of now, its stories are not true to the comics, nor will they be mentioned in future movies or other television shows. However, it is a fun show to watch. For a casual Batman fan with passable knowledge, it can be fun to guess along with the characters and try to piece things together with Jim Gordon and the GCPD.
Gotham, Season 2, returned Feb. 29 on FOX.