April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #467: Gotham Girl

Hey, remember Gotham from last week? Yeah, he had a sister.

Last week, I covered Hank Clay, a fellow who went by the superhero name “Gotham,” but his story was only half the story.

See, to get the full story, I need to cover his sister Claire, AKA Gotham Girl.

Claire’s first appearance was, much like her brother Hank’s, a quick appearance in DC Rebirth #1 and then having a more substantial appearance in Batman #1 in June of 2016 by Tom King and David Finch.  She had more or less the same powers as her brother, and yes, those powers could be ramped up or down to make her stronger depending on who she was facing off against.  And, at the end of that run’s first storyarc, Claire had to kill her brother Hank as Hank went nuts and managed to take down the Justice League during a rampage where he was out to level Gotham City.

But like I said, there’s more to the story, and just because Hank is no longer in it, that doesn’t mean Claire doesn’t have a role to play.  Killing Hank left Claire mentally unbalanced, so Batman made a trip to Peña Duro, Bane’s island prison nation with a Suicide Squad that included Catwoman in order to get Psycho Pirate back from there to fix Claire.  From there, Claire essentially became another Batman ally as her presence even convinced Batman to propose to Catwoman.  There was just one little problem:  Claire was a trap of sorts.

See, King’s run essentially asked a big question:  Is Batman allowed to be happy?  To that end, the main villain of King’s run was Bane, looking to get back at the man whom he tried to break once.  Batman had humiliated him, but the story was there to highlight Bane’s tactical mind more than his physical power though Bane’s strength came up quite a bit.  After humiliating Bane in Peña Duro, Bane came to Gotham, during which Batman actually had Bane run a gauntlet of all the Arkham inmates to try and slow him down, and Bane overpowered both Solomon Grundy and Amygdala at the same time.  Batman managed to knock Bane out and get him locked up in Arkham, but there was a small problem:  that was what Bane wanted.

See, Bane wanted to break Batman on every level possible, not just physically like he did before, and to that end, he’d acquired a whole nest of allies within Gotham City including the Psycho Pirate, the Riddler, the Joker, Catwoman’s friend Holly, and two unexpected ones:  Claire and the Thomas Wayne Batman from the Flashpoint universe.  Thomas Wayne didn’t believe his alternate reality son could be happy as long as he was Batman and wanted him to give it up, so that was his motivation.  As for Claire, besides being Flashpoint Batman’s Robin (sort of), she’d essentially been brainwashed by Psycho Pirate to help Bane keep Gotham City under his tyrannical grip.

Claire and Flashpoint Batman were, among other things, rounding up Batman’s enemies to brainwash into Bane’s servants, having them take on the roles of cops and firefighters to enforce Bane’s rules while still following their own insane impulses.  I mean, would you want Firefly as a firefighter?  He’d probably start the fire first.  And with Alfred’s being held hostage in the city, Batman injured, and his other allies sitting things out in part because Bane’s plans actually drove a temporary wedge between Batman and the others, there was one other task for Claire:  keep the other superheroes out, as she did to Captain Atom at one point.

So, when did Claire fall into Bane’s grasp?  Oh, pretty early on:  the drugs she and Henry took to gain their powers were actually modified versions of Bane’s venom drug and…wait, there’s a version of the venom drug that allows the user to fly and have heat vision?  Why doesn’t Bane take that stuff?  I mean, sure it’ll probably take years off his life like it was Claire…oh, I just answered my own question.

Anyway, Batman is Batman, so he was a lot more on top of things than he appeared to be and even found a cure for Claire along the way.  Bane was defeated, Flashpoint Batman was sent home, and Bruce learned how to be happy.  Claire would reunite with Hank, briefly, when her brother came back as an undead version of himself in the Task Force Z series.  More recently, she managed to get some powers in a much safer way through exposure to Platinum Kryptonite, a version that gives regular humans Kryptonian powers.

Somehow, I had not listed that one when I listed known forms of kryptonite.

So, that’s Gotham Girl.  You know, I was thinking I should cover Madame Web this week since she just had a terrible movie come out, but…eh, I didn’t want to.  Maybe I’ll change my mind for next week.