Last weekend at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, lucky fans got a sneak peek at Episode 1 of Gotham, the Batman prequel series which will premiere on Fox on September 22nd.
I was one of those fans and let me tell you, I can’t wait to see this series.
One of the things that I liked about Smallville, was the introduction of characters from Superman’s history. We discovered how Lex Luthor became evil, the evolution of Brainiac, and a ton of other characters from the Superman universe. The problem was that in the back of my mind I knew that eventually Clark Kent had to grow up and move to Metropolis, and then Smallville would basically become obsolete.
So how can you do this with Batman? By nature, it would need to be a darker series. Smallville had its moments, but in no way did I ever think that Smallville or even Metropolis would ever become the cesspool of crime that Gotham City is. Gotham has always been portrayed as dark and dangerous, and story wise I think it works to the new series advantage.
The other main advantage that Gotham should have over Smallville is that Superman is…Super. So any villain needed to be at least strong enough to challenge Clark, or it wouldn’t be much of a show. Gotham can be populated with the mob, and crime bosses, and common or even extraordinary men that are still just men (or women) with no super powers in sight.
Our hero is not the Caped Crusader, it is a young rookie detective named James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie. Everyone on the planet knows that this detective will one day become the famed Commissioner Gordon. The series will explore how that rookie detective rose though the ranks in a crime ridden city to become that commissioner, and how he may have helped to shape a young boy into becoming the vigilante hero that Gotham needs.
Detective Gordon is assigned to Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) as his partner and mentor. We discover almost right away that Gordon is an idealist, who believes in justice, and Bulloch is a guy who does what he needs to in order to stay alive. The system is corrupt and he knows how to work the system, and he doesn’t need some rookie coming in and getting him killed. He always has a flask handy to help him forget the bad things he must do in order to keep the system running smoothly.
It isn’t long into the episode until we see the fateful scene in which the parents of a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) are brutally murdered in an alley. I saw more blood in that scene than I saw in all of the years of watching Smallville. I knew then that this was going to be the dark, gritty series that the Batman legend demands. Our two detectives are assigned to the case, much to Bullock’s dismay, and set out to find the truth.
It isn’t long until we meet the man who will become The Riddler. You’ll be surprised as to the role that Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) has as the series begins, but he’s already telling riddles so you know it is him.
You also meet Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), who will one day be The Penguin, make his appearance as a hireling of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). She is one of the crime bosses in the city, who in turn reports to mob kingpin Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Oswald plays a big part in the episode, and I can’t wait to see more of his story evolve.
You’ll also see a mysterious, pretty thief stalking the nighttime rooftops of Gotham. She’s young, but you already know that this teenager, Selena Kyle (Camren Bicondova), will one day be The Catwoman.
There is one more small appearance on the show of someone you might recognize. A young girl named Ivy who we only meet for a brief moment. Does she have a green thumb in her future?
McKenzie plays the part of Rookie Gordon very well. He’s a rookie when he needs to be, but he also shows the hard edge that our Commissioner is known for. Logue is equally appealing as Bullock, slovenly with a touch of humor and the knowledge of what needs to be done in order to keep himself, and by extension Gordon, alive. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? I think he’s something in between, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these two characters develop.
The episode is filled with angst, good and evil, and James Gordon already having to tread a fine moral line between what he will and will not do in order to bring justice to the city. His fiancé, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) is already being pulled into the dark dangerous side of Gotham City. It is a must see, and I’m eagerly awaiting the series premiere. There are so many avenues to explore in Gotham, and each path is dark and deadly. This ain’t Smallville.