Today we poked a bit of fun at the often silly way that the Gotham pilot introduced familiar Batman heroes and villains. But it led some of you to ask: If Jim Gordon succeeds in dealing with Gotham's criminals, why does the city need Batman?


Commenter JackRabbitSlim323 lays out the issue:

And so we reach the ultimate problem with Gotham. We can't have Jim Gordon solving all of Batman's foe's crimes, decades before Batman can solve them. It defeats the purpose of Batman. By the time Batman comes around, Gordon will have compiled massive cases on the entire rogues gallery. All he needs is a DA brave enough in the form of Harvey Dent, to bring the cases to trial. At that point, Bruce Wayne would better serve Gotham through political and monetary support of the non-corrupt components of the city.

Rookiebatman agrees, adding:

This is pretty much the entire problem I have with the series' very concept. The story of Gotham starts with Batman because Gotham needs Batman. If you create a Gotham that can get along okay without Batman (which is pretty vital if the intent is not to have the heroes fail at every turn), then it can't possibly be a prequel leading up to the eventual debut of Batman, because with every positive resolution to a conflict on the show, Batman will be needed a little less.

Take the Riddler for example; if the wacky ME does turn to crime in the course of the series and Gordon solves his riddles and catches him, then he doesn't need Batman for that. But if the wacky ME doesn't turn to crime in the course of the show, the implication for this version of Batman is even worse. If the Riddler pops up after Batman makes his debut, even though he'd been a law-abiding citizen this whole time, then it justifies and confirms the argument some cynical people have that the existence of Batman is what catalyzes the existence of his supervillains. So in that scenario, it would actually better for Gotham City if Batman didn't exist.

So it's a clear Catch-22; if the Riddler (or any other super-villain) shows up in the show and they catch him without Batman, then they don't need Batman, but if a super-villain is teased and doesn't turn to crime until after Batman, then he's actively making things worse.

There is simply no rational way for this series to lead to the existence of Batman, end of story.


And JackRabbitSlim323 continues:

Gordon's abilities and success will speak to the very argument against vigilantism. Gordon has a badge, he is legally entrusted by society to maintain the rule of law. If he is Batman with the right to throw people behind bars than there really is no need for Batman.

So what do you think? Is there a narratively satisfying way for Jim Gordon to competently deal with Batman's future foes while still having a city in need of Batman? Or does the Gotham narrative mean that the city really doesn't need a vigilante?