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Comic Book / Gotham High

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Gotham High is a graphic novel in the Batman franchise released on April 7, 2020. The novel is written by Melissa De La Cruz, with art by Thomas Pitilli and is published under the DC Ink label.

When a kidnapping occurs soon after a 17 year old Bruce returns to his old school in Gotham City, it is up to him to seek answers and deduce the mysteries within the school, getting himself tangled up in the complicated and unpredictable world of Gotham High in the process, as well as getting involved with a Love Triangle between him, local queen bee Selina Kyle and local class clown Jack Napier.

As the premise, title and cover indicates, the novel takes Batman/Bruce Wayne and his Rogues Gallery and reimagines them into teenagers in a high school setting, complete with all the clichés, Teen Drama and romance that come with the setting. Needless to say, this is one of the more bizarre takes on the Batman mythos to date.

Gotham High provides examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: Unlike her mainstream counterpart, Principal Gordon does not wear glasses.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Jack looks way better than most versions of the man who would become Joker in other continuities.
  • Adaptational Diversity: In contrast to the all-white, all heterosexual cast of the mainstream comics, the characters here are more diverse with Bruce Wayne being Chinese on his mother's side, Alfred being both Chinese and homosexual, Selina Kyle being Latin, the Gordons and Dick Grayson being black and Poison Ivy being Korean.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Jack appears to be a lot more mentally stable and functional than his canon counterpart.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Selina's always portrayed as intelligent but in a Street Smart way. Here, she's at one point seen easily solving an advanced math problem on a blackboard when no one else is around.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Jack has a lot of issues, but displays many positive qualities (love for Selina, genuine friendship with Bruce) here that aren't on show in other continuities, where before becoming the Joker he's a gangster (Batman (1989) and Batman: The Animated Series) or a bitter, depressed comic (The Killing Joke).
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Alfred Pennyworth has a husband.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While the morality of her canon counterpart is sometimes questionable, this version of Selina ends up being the Big Bad of the series, openly admitting she manipulated both Bruce and Jack for-profit and being responsible for the kidnapping and torture of this universe's version of Harvey Dent.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In a difference from other portrayals that treat "Jack Napier" as the Joker's real name, his real name here is "John Napier" with Jack being a nickname.
    • Being Bruce's maternal uncle, Alfred's full name is now Alfred Dean-Pennyworth, with "Pennyworth" being his husband's surname.
  • Age Lift:
    • Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson appear to be much older than their canon counterparts, being in the same age group as Bruce, Selina, and Jack.
    • A smaller example, but there is typically a five year age difference between Bruce and Selina at the most. Here the age gap is smaller. Bruce is established to be seventeen with his birthday approaching and Selina says she will be twenty-one in five years, telling us she is sixteen.
  • The Chessmaster: Selina, to an unbelievable degree.
  • Composite Character: Alfred is combined with Bruce's uncle Philip, who became the legal guardian of Bruce before Alfred's introduction. A difference here however, is that Alfred is portrayed as Bruce's maternal uncle, while Philip was his paternal uncle.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Bruce tells Selina point-blank that if she needed the money to support her father, he would have helped her if she came to him. Instead, she kidnaps Harvey in a case of mistaken identity for ransom. It's implied she knows she could have asked Bruce for the money, but is much too proud.
  • Decomposite Character: In relation to Adaptational Sexuality, Alfred's husband John Pennyworth bears a physical resemblance to the mainstream Alfred.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Alfred wears glasses this time around while his husband John Pennyworth, whom bears a resemblance to the mainstream Alfred, does not. While there have been portrayals of Alfred wearing glasses in the past, this is the first time it has been for him as a younger man rather than in his later years.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: All Selina's actions are driven by her need to ensure her Alzheimers-stricken father gets the help he needs.
  • Gender Flip: Commissioner Gordon is a woman, who is also the principal of the school.
  • High School AU: The premise of Gotham High is to have Batman and his Rogues Gallery members as normal teenagers attending the same school.
  • In Name Only: Despite being part of the Batman franchise, the graphic novel has very little in common with Batman outside of the setting and the characters and even then, in regards to the latter, many of the characters barely resemble their typical portrayals outside of the name and sharing a couple of their traits.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Selina fakes her death and escapes to Paris for Spring Break, and thus seems to get off scot-free after all the trouble she caused. But since Spring Break is just a week long, she will eventually have to return to Gotham and deal with the consequences of her actions.
  • Kick the Dog: When a crushed Jack asks Selina near the end if any of their romance was real, she dismisses him as "the biggest joke".
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: After everything is all over, Harvey's face is slashed, Bruce and Jack's friendship is destroyed, and the only one who's better off is Selina who started all the chaos in the first place since her father is saved and she runs off to Paris for Spring Break.
  • Race Lift: Bruce and Alfred are Chinese, Selina is Latina, Commissioner Gordon, her daughter, and Dick Grayson are black and Poison Ivy is Korean.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Alfred is Bruce's maternal uncle rather than simply his butler in this universe.
  • Recycled Premise: It is not the first time DC tried to put Batman and his villains in a high school setting, previously they tried to make an animated series based on that idea not once, but twice. The first attempt morphed into Batman Beyond and the second never made it past few pieces of concept art.