Elseworld Story: a Gotham without Batman

Came up with this idea of an Elseworld story that could be interesting. I was remembering the episode from BTAS called the Trial, where the new DA believed that due to Batman’s presence, he brings out all these colorful and dangerous criminals all throughout Gotham and wanted to put him away in order stop these criminals. These criminals then capture both the DA and Batman, and put them on their version of a trial and believe that Batman is the reason that all these criminals became what they are. But once the new DA started to hear their story, she finds out that they’ve always been twisted in their own way with or without Batman. And that got me thinking, what would a story be like of a Gotham that is without Batman? What would his rogues gallery be like if Bruce Wayne never became a vigilante? Bear in mind, I will be using the Pre-Flashpoint storyline for this concept.

Lets start with the big one: The Joker (using The Killing Joke as loose reference).

If by some miracle that he survives his encounter with the guards at ACE chemicals after that cockup heist and after two gang members were shot, its quite possible that he would never have fallen into the vat of chemicals, thus not completing the process of his mind breaking. He would probably be mourning for the death of his wife, and would not doubt be struggling with life with possible suicidal tendency’s perhaps.


Without Batman, Harvey would probably be struggling to bring down both crime families, and I’m guessing without Gordon providing assistance due to the police Commissioner at the time still in the mobs pocket. And would probably would be seeing a therapist for his developing violent behaviors due to stress of his work, but it wouldn’t be enough for dual personality to become permanently split. But he would probably would still be married to Gilda no doubt.

Mr Freeze

With a Batman-less presence, he would probably would be able to exact his revenge against Ferris Boyle, but as to what may happen next who knows, either gun down by the police due to the fact that without Batman he would probably no be able to advance his tech over time, or he would probably be struggling to find a cure for his wife Nora (the outcome is open to suggestions).


For just a reminder, Batman had helped out in an indirect way of perfecting venom in the book Batman Venom, back when it was in pill form. Without Batman as an early on willing test subject, the Venom development would probably be delayed to a degree and thus Bane would still be in prison at Pena Dura. My suggestion would be two possible outcomes: 1) Bane still remains in prison, and by dumb luck is killed by either the guards or by another inmate. 2) Venom is completed, and Bane is chosen as one of the test subjects and is able to escape. If the latter were to occur he would probably would just become a mercenary for hire, but would look into a way of ridding himself of his Venom addiction without having to think about challenging someone.

Harley Quinn

Without a Joker for her to evaluate during her first residency at Arkham, she would probably be working on some of the other patients. Work on her book of her findings and perhaps start her own therapy practice, perhaps take in the man who is suppose to be the Joker as one of her patients.


Oswald Cobblepot would probably be continuing his crime spree with very little interference, but would no doubt still open up the Iceberg Lounge and become a supplier and information provider for the Gothams Underworld.

Black Mask

If Roman Sionis were to continue on going down the road as he did in the comics, but without Batman, he would probably would become a major crime lord in competition with the other top crime families in Gotham, and might result in gang wars between the Falcone and the Maronis.


Jonathan Crane would no doubt still be conducting his unethical experiments on his patients during his research, and would probably would only use his Scarecrow moniker as a means of revenge of those who have exposed him and kicked him out.

The list goes on, and is open to suggestions.


Very interesting idea. The Penguin and others who weren’t listed need a different Gotham hero to rope 'em in.

So: what replacement for Bats would do?


I would recommend reading batman kings of fear. It kind of explores that idea in a cool way. I like your ideas


Good basic concept, but it lacks a plot to drive things along. Since it’s focused on the villains primarily, perhaps you couldn’t make a POV character as a thug from another city who is recruited into a gang looking to take over Gotham because a new gang war is brewing. Granted, Gang War in Gotham isn’t the most original concept, but this would give a good excuse to go on a tour of the underworld examining what has changed and would give some driving force for the narrative. It also needs some theme. What are we trying to say about the absence of a Batman? I think I’d go with the idea that Batman made everything more extreme. Yes, villains would have been more colorful and violent with Batman as a challenge, but the heroes would also be less heroic without a symbol to inspire them. A great good causes a stronger response from great evil, but it’s better in the end to confront the great evil and provoke retaliation than to allow a cancer to linger. You’d also want an explanation for why Bats isn’t around and it would be easy to just make it where Bruce and his parents died in the alley. You could emphasize the different one tragedy could make and Wayne Enterprises could have been acquired by Cobblepot or Ra’s or some other villain.

Just some stuff that crossed my mind on it. It’s a good concept.


Bro. This is awesome


@BatWatch Ya, when I wrote this, I had to make dinner so I wrapped it up short, for I had more ideas. And in this world, it’s a world where Bruce doesn’t become Batman, so either he focus on running his company and who knows maybe end up being married, or he delves into an actual playboy lifestyle. Plus there are other characters to look into such as Gordon, Dick, Jason, Barbara, Tim, Cassandra, Steph, etc, there so many things to look into in regards to a world where Batman doesn’t exist.