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Comic Book / Gothtopia

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Gotham is the world's happiest and brightest city, the perfect utopia ... Just don't look too close.
Gothtopia is a New 52 Batfamily Crossover starting in Detective Comics #27 and ties in Batgirl, Batwing, Catwoman, and Birds of Prey. It celebrates Batman's 75th anniversary and serves as the Grand Finale to John Layman and Jason Fabok's run on Detective Comics.

Gotham City, the world's safest and happiest city, an almost completely crime-free haven where dreams come true, and everyone leads the life they want to lead. A place of sunny skies, safe streets, gleaming skyscrapers, and brightly costumed heroes. This is Gotham City. This has always been Gotham City. Looking past the mysterious all-time high suicide rate, it is truly a utopia... and no one knows why. But if you want to survive, you have to believe.

Gothopia provides examples of:

  • Badass in Distress: When Batman figures out why Gotham is so utopian, the Batfamily capture him because he's defying their way of life and thinking. They leave him in the care of Dr. Crane for rehabilitation. This leaves the Batfamily on their own when they also realize the utopian facade.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with in an unusual way. In the false Gotham the Penguin believes himself to be the Mayor and seems to be a pretty good one even though he's still as ugly as he was before. Of course, he only thinks he's a decent mayor.
  • Big Bad: The Scarecrow
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Scarecrow has all of Gotham in a hallucination, making them think everything is wonderful while eliminating anyone who thinks otherwise.
  • Cassandra Truth: Anyone who espouses what Gotham City is truly like is considered insane, such as Poison Ivy and Mother Mercy.
  • Crapsaccharine World/False Utopia: On the surface, everything is great. However, the heroes start noticing that things are off and try to figure out what really is going on.
    • Batwing's tie-in has him walking around the city in his civvies. To him, Gotham looks beautiful and serene. The viewers, however, are shown the actual Gotham alongside his.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Zsasz "works" as a nurse at Arkham Asylum, which may or may not be a nod to The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger's role as the Joker.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Despite crime and unemployment being at an all-time low, suicide rates are unusually high. The suicide victims are people who became immune to the hallucinatory gas and could see Gotham for what it really is. Unable to convince anyone, they took their lives.
    • Lucius Fox tried to shoot himself when his workers under-performing causes him to despair. Fortunately, Batwing (his son, Luke) stops him before he can do it.
  • Enemy Mine: Batman teams up with Poison Ivy to fix whatever's going on because Ivy is immune to the drug-induced fantasy. However, when the story begins Batman thinks Ivy is just raving and only realizes she was right afterwards.
  • Evil Plan: The plan of the villain is to first soften the heroes' defenses with the fantasy of Gothtopia, then shatter their resolve to fight back with Nightmare Fuel, thereby enforcing the heroes as his own lackeys, too scared to fight back.
  • Find the Cure!: After realizing the facade, Batwing creates a cure for the hallucinogen and gives it to himself and his family. He's working on a way to spread it to all of Gotham.
  • Friendly Enemy: Daybreak, Batgirl's best friend and ally, is actually her archnemesis, Knightfall. They have no memories of their previous confrontations and think they'd first met rescuing a couple.
  • Good Costume Switch:
    • Gotham always had heroes, but now they've traded their dark, imposing costumes for bright, inspiring ones.
    • More traditionally, Knightfall has a brighter costume as Daybreak.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Catwoman and Knightfall as Catbird and Daybreak, but not of their own volition. The Penguin thinks he's the Mayor of Gotham City and seems to be a good one at that.
  • Hostage Situation: Batgirl's tie-in has a woman calling herself Mother Mercy poisoning the ice cream in a Joker's Ice Cream factory and taking children on a field trip there as hostage. Batgirl steps in so the cops won't risk shooting a hostage. Mother Mercy was someone who remembered Gotham's true face and is despairing. Seeing the factory's Joker emblem makes Batgirl remember as well.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Inverted, as Catbird and the others seem to think Batman has gone insane and try to reach out to the "real" him even though they are the ones who are hallucinating.
    • Played straight with Steeljacket trying to get through to Catwoman that she is not Catbird.
  • Light Is Not Good: Everything is bright and sunny and wonderful and it's a giant, ugly lie.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Everyone in Gotham has been put into one.
  • Meaningful Rename: With exception of Batman, the Batfamily changed their names to reflect the sunnier atmosphere. Knightfall does as well.
    • Batgirl —> Bluebelle
    • Batwing —> Flying Fox
    • Batwoman —> Brightbat
    • Birds of Prey —> Wings of Truth
      • Black Canary —> Warbler
      • Strix —> Artemis
      • Condor —> Eagle
    • Catwoman —> Catbird
    • Talon —> Gothamite
    • Knightfall —> Daybreak
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Daybreak is a blonde who wears a purple cloak like Spoiler.
    • Flying Fox was the name of a Batman expy from Young All-Stars and a young Bruce Wayne from a Silver Age Adventure Comics story and Superman & Batman: Generations.
    • Penguin being the Mayor of Gotham City seemed to be a nod to Batman Returns or The Batman Adventures, only in this world he's viewed as a pretty decent mayor.
    • Zsasz dressed up in a wig as a nurse may be referencing the Joker's crossdressing stint in The Dark Knight.
    • In the tie-in short story Better Days, 75 year-old Bruce Wayne steps into the mantle of Batman despite having retired long ago. The first panel of him as Batman is almost identical to the one in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but he's smiling instead of scowling and describes how much body-destroying pain he's in rather than how freeing it feels.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The only aspect of Bluebelle's costume that's actually blue is her bat symbol.
  • Noodle Implements: In the short story Twenty-Seven there are many glimpses of the worlds of the future Batmen (the giant Talon Mecha fight, the various future Robins, a street chase involving tripod robots, and many various villains that are unnamed), but all of it is left for the reader to interpret and speculate on.
    Bruce Wayne #8 (looking at giant joker playing card): What's that one?
    Bruce Wayne #7: You'll find out. We all do.
  • Only Sane Man: Some of the only people who realize the truth fully are Poison Ivy, Batman, Batwing, Lucius Fox, and Steeljacket, while nearly everyone else who does so snaps from the conflicting memories and drug-induced stupor and tries to commit suicide. Black Canary is snapped out of it by the arrival of Ra's al Ghul.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Since Batman needs Poison Ivy to resist Scarecrow's gas, Batman willingly kisses her back. She's actually surprised by this.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: In the final issue, Batman succeeds because he seduces Poison Ivy, something he would never do out of his identity as Bruce Wayne.
  • Sidekick: Catbird is Batman's right hand woman.
  • Spot the Thread: Gotham is perfect, unless you see something that triggers a memory of the real Gotham. Once you do, the facade fades.
  • Sugar Bowl: The entire plot is that Gotham is Brainwashed and Crazy to believe their city is this.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Catbird attempts to maim Poison Ivy for trying to kiss Batman until Batman manages to calm her down.
  • Wistful Amnesia: In the Catwoman tie-ins, it looks as if Selina's subconscious is trying to force herself out of the hallucination, but Catbird enjoys her new life too much and rejects her old life as the actual hallucination. When she visits Batman at Arkham, she gets upset that he still calls her Catwoman and asks why he just doesn't give in.
    • Likewise, Batgirl as Bluebelle seems more willing to accept the new world at the end of her tie-in issue after watching Mother Mercy get shot by a police sniper.