Gotham City Garage is a 2017 digital-first comic-series published by DC Comics and set in a post-apocalyptic future. The same as DC Comics Bombshells, it's inspired by a DC Collectibles statue line.
It's been decades since a cataclysm dried the seas and burned the human cities. Thirty-five years ago, Lex Luthor took over Gotham City, renamed it The Garden — the Last City on Earth — and turned it into a city where nothing bad ever happens... unless you step out of line, in which case you'll be instantly terminated by Luthor's bat-dressed enforcers, the Gardeners.
Kara Gordon is a ridealong technician who pretends to be the happiest person around. Reality is, she hates Luthor, she detests the City and dreams of escaping and looking for the mythical Wonder Woman. One day she saves a man from getting gunned down and is noticed by the Gardeners. Her father James Gordon reveals she's his adoptive daughter whom he rescued from Luthor's experiments, and now she has to run away or will be terminated.
Kara makes it beyond the dome surrounding the city and is rescued by a rebel group led by Natasha Irons who is determined to take Lex Luthor down.
Compare with DC Comics Bombshells, another Elseworlds story inspired by a statue line and featuring DC female heroes and villains.
- Adaptational Heroism: Harley Quinn, Catwoman, The Joker, and Silver Banshee are more anti-heroic than their mainstream counterparts.
- Adaptational Villainy: Batman and Jason Todd are usually heroes (well, somewhat in Jason's case). In this universe, the former is Luthor's chief enforcer and the latter leads a ruthless road gang that works for Luthor. The Flash aka Barry Allen is also brainwashed into becoming Luthor's loyal minions in this verse.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: In this continuity, Hawkgirl is a human pilot trained by the Blackhawks.
- After the End: The story starts out many decades after a called "dark age" changed the world into a wasteland. The world's oceans evaporated and the human cities burned to ashes. Gotham is the last city on Earth and is ruled by Lex Luthor.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Kara, Dick and Selina crawl into a vent to break into a secret facility belonging to Luthor.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Downplayed. Kara finds Jason Todd, leader of rival biker gang the Red Hoods, cute. Dick Grayson protests Jason isn't cute. He's scum.Dick: And this one at the head of the pack, he's gaining on me with eyes ready to kill. It's Jason Todd — you know, the lifer? The kid raised in the gang?
Kara: Yeah, we've met. He's cute.
Dick: I'm cute. He's the kind of scum who thinks the word scum is a compliment.
- The Apunkalypse: The people outside the city are living this lifestyle.
- Arm Cannon: In the fourth issue Kara Gordon and Dick Grayson fight Amazo, a robot equipped with two laser cannons built into its arms.
- Audience Surrogate: Kara is the viewpoint character who explains what to live in the city ruled by Luthor is like and asks the rebel group questions about the life in the wastelands.
- Awful Truth: After being told Kara didn't kill her father Barbara sets out to ascertain the truth and discover who killed James Gordon and why:Barbara: I wish that was true, Kara, I really do, but this goes so much deeper than either of us. They framed you because the truth is insane. If people in The Garden knew...
Kara: If they knew what?
Barbara: I... rghh... Dad was working on... a project for Governor Luthor. Something... deep in the Lexes. Top secret. An alien. Luthor wanted it... controlled. He wanted to... harness its power... Gahhhh... I don't know why. But dad... He couldn't let it happen. He hacked his ridealongs. Kept the alien off the grid. Changed her memories. Changed my memories. That was ten years ago. That's the day we became sisters.
- Badass Biker: All female characters ride bikes and kick ass — Kara, Diana, Barbara, Harley, Barda.
- Badass Boast: Barda delivers one before pouncing on robot enemies.Natasha Irons: Throttle back.
Big Barda: She needs our help.
Natasha: Barda. I'm reading six Gardeners. That's suicide.
Barda: There could be six hundred.
- Being Watched: Barbara suspects she is being watched after sending a message to the rebels, hoping reach her sister out. Of course, she's being watched by the Bat.
- Big Bad: Lex Luthor took over the last city on Earth and turned it into his private country.
- Big Damn Heroes: Big Barda, Silver Banshee, Harley Quinn and Catwoman come to Kara's aid when half dozen of Gardeners are about to gun her down.
- Blood Knight: Barda has spent years trying to break free from Granny Goodness' indoctrination, but even so she's never happier than when she fights.Barda: Highfather help me. Even after all there years away from Granny's Forge... I'm never as at home as I am in war.
- Cain and Abel: Batman eliminates James Gordon and then attempts to blame his murder on Kara Gordon to get her sister Barbara to hate and hunt Kara down. It almost works until Harley Quinn of all people tells Barbara her little sister is innocent.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: In chapter 4, Dick Grayson and Kara Gordon argue as to what Dick's batons are called as being chased down by a killer giant robot. Kara lampshades it:Kara: You really think this is the time for a semantics debate?
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After Silver Banshee is shot by Batman, and Zatanna teleports both of them away from the battle, neither of them appear in the story again or are mentioned by anyone.
- City in a Bottle: Lex built a dome encircling Gotham City to protect it from the gangs of marauders roving around the wastelands... and to keep everyone controlled. Thirty-five years later, no local is certain that there's beyond the dome other than a dangerous desert.
- Composite Character: In this series, Catwoman is the alternate identity as an outlaw of Luthor's assistant Mercy Graves, who is playing both ends against the middle for her own mysterious ends.
- Crapsack World: The world is a barren, lifeless desert. Most cities are scorched ruins fought over by scavengers. And the only thriving city is under the rule of Lex Luthor.
- Deadpan Snarker: As per usual, Kara's wit is pretty dry:
- In chapter #7:Nightwing: So you know what I do?
Supergirl: No, but I have this sneaky feeling you're gonna tell me.
- In chapter #9:Kara: Yeah. Okay. This is a murder trap. I'm walking into a murder trap.
- In chapter #7:
- Death Trap: Lex Luthor's secret underground facility is protected with traps such like laser hallways and turret guns built in elevator shafts. Supergirl, Catwoman and Nightwing find them annoying and trite. Especially Nightwing.Nightwing: Laser hallway. How cliché. What's next, the floor is lava? A room filled with sharks?
- Defector from Decadence: Kara used to work as a computer technician overseeing Lex Luthor's mind-control devices which kept his city's inhabitants under control, but she hated the job, the enclosed city and especially Luthor. Then she nearly got assassinated because she saved a man's life. So she manages to run away and joins Natasha Irons' rebel faction.
- Defiant to the End: James Gordon is apprehended by the Gardeners and it's clear he's going to be killed off right after being interrogated in relation to his daughters:The Bat: How did you do it?
James Gordon: Ask your boss. He's the who put source code in everyone's brains.
The Bat: You're saying you created her memories.
James Gordon: I'm saying go to Hell, Bruce. That's what I'm saying.
- A Dick in Name: Dick Grayson tries — and fails — to use Kara as a bait to escape from an Amazo robot, which gives us the next exchange:Dick: We've got one option — split up!
Kara: But it'll keep following one of us!
Kara: What? Come back, you complete and total dick!
Dick: What can I say, it's in the name!
- Didn't See That Coming: Dick and Kara are being chased down by a killer robot. Dick decides to split up so the robot chases her... but it goes after him. Dick's reaction?Dick: We've got one option — split up!
Kara: But it''ll keep following one of us!
Kara: What? Come back, you complete and total dick!
Dick: What can I say, it's in the name!
Amazo: Targeting defector — Richard Grayson Alpha priority.
Dick: Ah dang. Not how I saw that going at all.
- Domed Hometown: The "Garden" — formerly Gotham City — is encircled by a red-lit dome built by Luthor to keep scavengers and bandits out... and Luthor's brainwashed subjects in.
- The Dragon: Batman is Luthor's chief enforcer. He killed Barbara and Kara's father and tried to turn the former against the latter.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Kara, Dick and Selina break into a secret facility built by Lex Luthor underneath a mountain where he fabricates his army of robotical enforcers.
- The Evils of Free Will: Lex designed his mind-control devices "Lexlocks" — later "Ridealongs" — to free the masses from a pesky thing called "independent thought" and his own belief that Humans Are Bastards that need to be controlled by a Misanthrope Supreme like himself.Luthor: I have a problem that needs solving.
Harley: Premature hair loss?
Luthor: Free will. There tiny machines can be grafted to every human mind in my garden. They can control thought, behavior, preference, happiness. Wash away the sins of the Dark Age and give the world a clean slate. But they must do so without driving the cattle insane.
- Eye Beams: Kara finds out about her heat vision by accident while on a mission.Kara: Last time I rode out I shot a giant laser out of my eyes.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: In the run-up to the final battle, versions of Lobo and an unnamed but recognizable Captain Marvel are built up as Lex's ultimate weapons and sent out at the front of his army. Both of them get taken out by Catwoman's suicide bombing without striking a blow.
- Family of Choice: After defecting, Kara misses her sister left back in the city tyrannically ruled by Luthor. Natasha Irons tells she understands but the biker gang is now her family.Natasha Irons: I know that feeling. The loved one you can't shake. It's hard. But you gotta remember... You got new family now. Them you left behind are just cogs in Luthor's machine. Rule number one at the Garage: We ride for our sisters.
- Feminist Fantasy: The whole story is essentially an Elseworld version of this trope in which the rebellious Kara and a ragtag team of independent Action Girl types band together to stop an oppressive man from suppressing their rights to live as they please and extending his brutal regime on their world.
- Geniuses Have Multiple PhDs: Kara says Lex has kidnapped the world's top minds, all of whom have "at least three PhDs at the end of their name".
- Genius Loci: The Canyons of Clay. Clayface is merged with the land, exerts complete control upon it, and kills all trespassers.Big Barda: But the Dark Age had not just changed the world, they say. It had not only driven the seas to vapor and burned the cities of Man. No. It had also changed him. Stripped him of his famous face. Destroyed his home. And so, they say, he came to the crossroads here... and became a new one. Welcome to the Canyons of Clay.
Supergirl: Whoa! You're telling me this place is alive?
Silver Banshee: No. This place is death.
- A God Am I: Given the number of people swearing by Lex and reiterating Lex loves them and the fact that years are counted from the so-called "Luthorrise", it looks like Lex has taken his narcissism and megalomania to the extreme.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Lex Luthor is actually the agent on Earth of Darkseid, who's implied to be the reason the world is such a bombed-out wasteland in the first place.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: During her first battle, Kara picks up an android's ripped arm and hammers another Gardener with it.
- The Bat later pulls the same thing with Steel's mechanical arm.
- Heel–Face Turn: Harley Quinn used to work for Lex Luthor, but ran away and joined the rebels.
- Heel Realization:
- Harley Quinn helped Lex Luthor perfect his mind-controlling devices. When she realized they were turning people into drones unable to love someone other than Lex, she defected.
- Barbara Gordon used to be one of the Luthor's enforcers. Then she was told her boss framed her sister for their father's murder shortly before seeing other enforcers dealing with a riot by setting fire to the rioters and understood she was not on the side of the angels.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Catwoman blows herself up with the Mother Box to stop Darkseid from coming back to Earth and to destroy Luthor's army when he comes to attack her friends.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Natasha brings this issue to light when she manages to kill the Blur who by all intents is a brainwashed stooge so he wouldn't be a further threat despite choosing to keep an unrepentant and still dangerous Bat alive and chained in the Garage. Despite all the Biker Gang's speeches against Luthor's brutal brand of fascism, the team has no problem killing those who get in their way in the name of their beliefs.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: When they first meet, Batgirl grabs Harley Quinn, starts her Jet Pack up and takes her over the city to interrogate her.Batgirl: The truth or I drop you! Where the Hell is Kara Gordon? Where is she hiding?
- Insistent Terminology: Dick's electric batons are NOT called sticks. They're batons. Get it right.Nightwing: Unless you count electric batons? Not a whole lot.
Supergirl: Electric sticks are our only hope?
Nightwing: Batons. They're called batons.
- Intrepid Reporter: Lois in this verse is one of these as usual to the extreme. She's a radio jockey in the barren wasteland who doesn't believe the Resistance fighters will make much of a difference and despises them for basically being Revolutionaries Who Don't Do Anything but cause some minor mischief and complain and is only content to record the story of a lifetime when they finally take the fight to Luthor, win or lose.
- Ironic Echo: Kara and Dick are running from a killer robot. Dick tells her "And whatever you do — Don't slow down!" to which Kara replies "Wasn't planning on it?!". Dick tries to use Kara as a bait to escape, but the robot chases him down. Dick is being cornered when Kara reappears to save him shouting "Don't slow down!". Dick replies "Wasn't planning on it."
- It's All Junk: Barbara Gordon is tricked into believing her sister murdered their father. At one point she rips up Kara's comics. Then she remembers they were their father's and feels even worse.Barbara: I tried hating you. On one particularly bad night, I tore up your illegal comics. It was only afterward I remembered they were Dad's. I tried hating him, too. That didn't work either.
- Jet Pack: Barbara has a jetpack with unfoldable mechanical batwings.
- Jumping on a Grenade: In issue #2 Kara saves Jason Todd's life by throwing herself on top of a bomb. Her body bore the brunt of the blast, but since it was a solar-powered bomb she came out unscathed (not that a normal bomb would damage her either, but she didn't know about her invulnerability in the time).
- Kirby Dots: A beautiful green-and-white Kirby Krackle surrounds Big Barda when she starts up her cosmic rod.
- Lava Pit: Parodied by Nightwing when he, Supergirl and Catwoman sneak into a secret underground facility protected with death traps and Dick wonders if they'll run into a lava pool.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Batman makes Barbara believe Kara killed their father to turn her against her little sister. His deceit almost works, but Harley tells Barbara the truth before she meets Kara.
- Love Is a Weakness: It's Harley Quinn's view that love is both needless and hurtful.Harley: 'Cuz really, who needs love? It's like inking a bull's eye on your heart and givin' some rando a crossbow.
- MacGuffin Super-Person: At the end of the series, Kara manages to find her infant cousin Kal-El and begins raising him to become the hero he's known for to help fix the world and eventually fight against Darkseid.
- Mecha-Mooks: Lex Luthor's robot enforcers called "Gardeners" execute whoever gets out of line.
- Mechanical Monster: Lex Luthor has the giant robot Amazo which Kara Gordon, Dick Grayson and Selina Kyle bump into when they break into a Luthor's secret base.
- Mind Rape:
- Lex took control of Gotham City and put mind-controlling devices in everyone's heads. James Gordon exploited that in order to protect Kara by rewriting her memories and altering Barbara's. The thought that he did to his birth daughter to save his adoptive one keeps him up at night.
- In Apokolips, mind-rapes are an everyday occurrence.Big Barda: For showing compassion, Granny would condemn me to a thousand mindyears of all-pain.
- Missing Mom: Barbara and Kara's mother died when they were very young. Kara barely remembers her.
- Neck Snap: Batman executes James Gordon by snapping his neck.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Big Barda was actually instructed by Granny Goodness to abandon her partners. So she refuses to leave Silver Banshee behind during the chase across the Canyons of Clay because that's what Granny would want her to.
- No-Sell: A solar-powered weapon explodes in Kara's hands. It works as well as you'd expect.
- Nothing Personal: When the group attempts to hijack a truck, Kara tosses the trucker out of the vehicle shouting: "Really sorry about this! Nothing personal!"
- Oh, Crap!: Harley Quinn reacts this way when she realizes she has gotten Barbara's full, undivided attention:Barbara Gordon: Sorry to interrupt this romantic and very disgusting moment — but you and I have business.
Harley Quinn: I sure hope so. Dayum. Oh no wait hold on. Real dayum. Actual damn.
- Lex reacts this way when he returned defeated to his city and finds Harley Quinn managed to free the citizens from his mental control and now sicks them on Lex to cause his death.
- Oh, My Gods!: People swears by Lex, which reveals to what extent he's controlling the post-apocalyptic world.
- Oil Slick: Dick Grayson's bike is equipped with this. Dick even calls it...Nightwing: Deploying Oil Slick!
- "Open!" Says Me: Several examples:
- Supergirl, Nightwing and Catwoman are sneaking in a secret facility and attempting to open a door but the retinal scan doesn't work. Kara — who is shielding her partners from a laser barrage — loses her patience and punches the door down.
- Batgirl needs to make her way in a rebel hideout. At the door, she's asked the password. Barbara not even answers anything. She just kicks the door down.
- People Jars: Upon breaking into a secret facility, Kara, Dick and Selina discovered Luthor kidnapped the world's greatest geniuses, imprisoned them in pods and mind-controlled them into working for him inside.Nightwing: The Hell is this place?
Supergirl: It's a computer. A neural network of ridealongs inside cryogenically frozen geniuses. A super-cooled processor made of human brains — and every one of them has at least three PhDs at the end of their name. We're looking at the smartest people in the world.
Catwoman: Oh, Lex. You never did like competition.
- Pietà Plagiarism: In the third issue Batman carries a hurt Batgirl in his arms after she has been knocked down.
- Power Nullifier: The Garden is lit with red sunlight generators, which is why Kara does not realize she has super powers until she escapes and is finally exposed to real sunlight.
- Punished for Sympathy:
- Kara is hunted down because she saved an innocent man from being gunned down.
- Unsurprisingly, in Apokolips mercy is punished with Mind Rape:Barda: For showing compassion, Granny would condemn me to a thousand mindyears of all-pain.
- Redemption Rejection: Bruce Wayne/Batman rejects all of the characters' attempts to persuade him to turn against Lex and remains a fascist asshole to the end.
- Related in the Adaptation: James and Barbara Gordon are Kara's adoptive family.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In the fourth chapter, Catwoman gets Nightwing and Supergirl to help her break into a secret facility and then uses them as a bait to keep a robot guardian busy. Both Dick and Kara decide to hightail it.Nightwing: You want to go in alone, Catwoman? You do you. I'm out.
- Shark Pool: Parodied. Nightwing, Supergirl and Catwoman break into a secret facility protected with death traps and Dick wonders if they'll run into the mandatory shark pool.Nightwing: Laser hallway. How cliché. What's next, the floor is lava? A room filled with sharks?
- Soft Glass: Batman does this several times:
- In issue #1, Batman bursts through the window of the Gordon household to capture Kara and her father.
- In issue #11 he throws himself through a window of the Garage to catch the gang by surprise.
- Stepford Smiler: Kara smiled constantly and pretended to be brimming with happiness as working for Lex Luthor. Reality is, she hated Luthor, her job and her oppressed, walled hometown and dreamed of escaping and finding freedom anywhere; but she never showed it.
- Suicide Attack: Mercy Graves/Catwoman blows up most of Lex's army with a bomb on her motorbike at the beginning of the final battle, killing herself.
- Super Strength: Kara Gordon discovers her inhuman strength when she lifts a huge truck with one hand.
- Taking You with Me: Jason Todd sets off a bomb when Clayface is about to kill him.
- Tears of Blood: Blood oozes from James Gordon's eyes while he tells Kara she's been found by the Gardeners and has to run away now.
- Tempting Fate: In the fourth chapter, Kara Gordon and Dick Grayson are fleeing a guardian robot and Nightwing suggests to get out of the facility and get on their bikes because the guardian obviously won't leave the base to chase after them. Then the guardian proceeds to do exactly that.Nightwing: Let's ride! There's no way that thing can leave the facility — We'll be free and clear!
[the guardian robot leaves the facility and chases after them]
Supergirl: You were saying?!
- That Man Is Dead: Harley Quinzel used to work for Lex in the past. After defecting she renames herself Quinn and claims she doesn't know anybody called "Harley Quinzel".Harley: Harley Quinn, by the way.
Kara: Harley... Quin-zel?
Harley: Never heard of her, sounds like a real piece of garbage!
- Three-Point Landing: Barda leaps onto a truck's roof, landing on her two feet and right hand.
- Took a Level in Badass: Big Barda trains Kara after the latter joins the gang.
- Touché: Jason Todd sets a bomb off to take Clayface with him. Kara quickly flings him away and tanks the blast.Jason: What... What are you?
Kara: I'm super. And you're a suicidal idiot.
- Tyke-Bomb: As part of a plan by Luthor to betray and destroy Darkseid, Luthor found and tried to raise Kara to be his living weapon to destroy Darkseid as the only being capable of doing so. That backfired horribly for him later on.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lex Luthor is confident that he can save the remains of mankind, but he can only achieve this if everybody follow his orders; so he keeps people mind-controlled and caged inside "his" walled city and represses dissenters brutally. He doesn't get why people rebel against him.
- We Need a Distraction: In chapter 10, Kara slips in the Garden to get Barbara out of there. On their way out both girls are being chased by Batman, so Kara's biker gang provides several distractions to force him to give up the chase: Big Barda and Harley Quinn blow up a chunk of the wall surrounding the city and Zatanna and Silver Banshee sneak in the city and wreak havoc.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Subverted with Kara. She's happy-go-lucky, innocent and optimistic. Barda thinks she'll have to break her cheerful idealism before it kills Kara... until they discover the "super-strong and invulnerable" thing.
- World of Action Girls: Most of heroes are female.
- You Killed My Father: Subverted. Batman doctors evidence to trick Barbara Gordon into believing her sister murdered their father. She believes him and intends to get justice for her father until Harley — of all people! — reveals that's rubbish.