Tags: gotham

cass, can you not

I don't watch Gotham, but

That conversation between Bruce and Alfred at the end of the latest episode was stolen from my dream Bruce Wayne show about Bruce between Crime Alley and Year One. Of course, that show wouldn't have taken place in Gotham (I don't buy that Bruce never came back to the city during his travels, but he certainly didn't stay there), the costumed rogues wouldn't exist yet, etc, etc — basically, it'd be Bruce traveling over the world, learning stuff, and getting in and out of trouble along the way. To comply with the structure of contemporary TV, an slowly developing common threat could be the League of Shadows (without ever mentioning Ra's or Talia, although cf below) as a worldwide shadow empire Bruce keeps finding about the deeper he goes into the hidden world of the powerful and the hyper-skilled.

So he sleuths, finds more about them, they try to recruit him (they are always in the lookout for the promising and angry) he either fakes acceptance or refuses flatly, eventually they put a bounty on his head, and he makes a counter-challenge: he'll fight their team of assassins in Gotham, all at once, and if he wins they'll leave the city alone.

So he returns (we're fucking with Year One, I don't care), there's an epic Batman-in-civvies urban battle he wins but barely and not without severe injuries, and a voice he first heard in Paris while training with Ducard says from the shadows You've earned your city a respite, Detective. But you cannot save it, not with the rules you've set for yourself. No man can.

He somehow gets himself to the Manor and sits in the study bleeding to death, thinking the Demon was right, even with everything he has learned he cannot save Gotham, no human being can... and then the damned bat flies through the window and lands of the bust. Bruce smiles that creepy smile of his.

Then I shall become a bat.

Cut do dark. The sound of bat wings flapping. End of the series.

A side benefit of the series would be that it makes Ra's behavior toward Bruce quite more understandable. He doesn't mess a lot with Gotham because Bruce sort of won that during the challenge, and he's been thinking of him as a potential recruit (and then, progressively, more) even as he began training. Plus, he first sort-of met him as a student of Henri Ducard, so he thinks of him as the Detective. I'd call his feelings vaguely avuncular, if Ra's weren't, well, Ra's.

Anyway, yeah, at some point during the first episodes something like Gotham's final scene of Bruce with Alfred takes place, because that kid, at that moment, looked very very wee!Bruce (except of course the context isn't that Alfred is training Bruce, but perhaps rather that Alfred is going along with Bruce training).
cass, can you not

So... the Gotham preview

I'm still unimpressed. They are deliberately going to speed-cram the Batman mythos, or at least the villains' bits (apparently ignoring that, canonically, Bruce was the one that gave most of them the idea), and myth-cramming does *not* compelling TV makes (when they work, Smallville and Supernatural work because of the interpersonal relationships, not because of the mythology, which often becomes insurmountably baroque by the second season at the latest).

Part of the problem is that Jim Gordon is going to be the protagonist. I love Gordon, and he's a kick-ass cop, but I don't think WB is making this series to show his failure, yet what else can they show? A Game of Thrones approach would be better: an ensemble cast of very killeable people (nobody we know for sure is going to be alive when Bruce comes back) fighting tooth and nail for blood-soaked territory.

On the other hand, I guess maximizing familiarity will maximize viewership numbers, and that's pretty much the thing.

In a very Comic Book Guy attitude, and paraphrasing Chekov, I will watch it, but I don't think I'll enjoy it. (Here's to the possibility of being pleasantly surprised.)
cass, can you not

My (very) short pitch for a Gotham series

True Detective, except that always inside the city, and it's always night. (Oh, and no bats ever, human or otherwise).

Of course, I realize that this misses the whole business point of a Gotham TV series, which is Batman, but, look: the main point of the Batman-Gotham relationship for me it has always been that they are *two* distinct entities (for lack of a better term --- embodied concepts? chaotic semi-stable systems?). There's Gotham, which is a city locked up in an almost supernatural cycle of crime, violence, and evil, and there's Batman, which is a *something* Bruce came up with that is locked up in an almost supernatural cycle trying to save Gotham. Bruce loves Gotham like nobody has ever loved anything (to steal a phrase I once wrote), and in a sense Bruce is a natural product of Gotham as much as anybody else, but Batman, icon that he is, isn't. Sure, he's dark and violent, but that's because he has to. He's not the kind of thing Gotham naturally produces --- it's the kind of thing Bruce created to *counter* Gotham's darkest tendencies. That's part of what makes him so important/inspirational to me as a concept. He might seem shaped by his environment, but he's actually the most radical counterpoint to it you could imagine. (This is also why I get so mad with any plot that hints at Bruce being pre-ordained to become Batman, and so on; that completely misses the point of Bruce's achievement. And it's part of why I liked Morrison's storyline of Bruce coming back in time --- it mostly explained away all historical bat-hints as *Bruce* himself leaving clues and setting up things, which is neat.)

Anwyay. For me, there's not Batman before Crime Alley, and there never was, not even remotely close. That's the achievement of what Bruce built. Before that, there was only Gotham. So forget the bats. Let Bruce be the regular kid he was. Forget those that will be his foes. Tell the story of a city so rich and dark that people thought it was insane before Batman and the Joker.

Tell the story of Gotham. It's more than interesting enough.
cass, can you not


Villain Honeypots: An slightly different Bruce (e.g., a more Damian-like Bruce, or even Damian) would secretly purchase and wire — or fake and wire — abandoned amusement parks, closed factories, and other empty buildings with themes related to clowns, comedy, twos, twins, plants, birds, fear, scarecrows, cold, ice, puzzles, et cetera.

Bruce would wire them in the 'bug' sense, and Damian would wire them in the 'boom' sense, but the tactical principle is the same.
cass, can you not

Not enough to be a fic

Thinking about Watsonian explanations for Gotham being, well, Gotham, one idea that occurs to me (certainly inspired by Mister X), is that of mad urbanists as large-scale engineers mapping the immensely complex machines we call "cities," nudging them just a little here and there (sometimes with a building, sometimes with a mugging gone badly) to program them into self-sustaining generators of insanity and crime. Arkham itself is a key element, a feedback loop that grabs madness, refines and strengthens it, and sends it back to the rest of the city, but Gotham as a whole is a masterpiece.

Oh, sure, it certainly keeps changing — earthquakes, new buildings, gang wars, whatever — but whoever programmed Gotham did it so well that the city keeps running the same algorithm of violence and despair through every reconfiguration of its physical and social manifold. It's like a polymorphic operating system smart enough to rewrite itself as the hardware is upgraded (new buildings, new crimes, new societies), running a very long computation along the way, systematically searching the configuration space of darkness...

And Gotham is not alone. Because mathematics is universal and computers are isomorphic, other civilizations and other species have done the same. There's another such "calculating system," a much larger and more sophisticated one, which is perhaps closer to finding the elusive algebraic expression they call the Anti-Life Equation (but names don't really matter; as I said, mathematics is universal, including the mathematics of the soul).

Batman saves Gotham, and Darkseid rules Apokolips, but they are both code fragments, or even transient variables, in different instances of the same algorithm.
cass, can you not

Re: that last fic I posted.

What I really wanted to write about, but couldn't figure out, is this: How is it to live in a city next to Arkham, the multiverse's most porous holding facility for insane, violent criminal geniuses? How does that feel? What kind of mental and practical adjustments do they have to do?

I mused about that for a while, got no farther than "Gothamites are insane, that's the thing," and instead wrote urban fluff.

*shrugs* Maybe later. Feel free to do whatever you want with the idea, of course.

ETA FOR THE AGES: Katarik rules over Gotham, verily. That's all.

ETA OF NO, THAT WASN'T ALL: And she rules over Clark too.