'Dark Knight' Reading: Gotham City's Comic Book Lows

by Ryan Rigley

If there's one thing that we've all learned from watching Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, it's that Gotham can be a really awful place to live. It's overrun with corrupt businessmen, violent gangsters, and homicidal maniacs. If the Batman wasn't around to protect the innocent, who in their right minds would live there?

Bane's seizing control of the entire city is just the latest in a series of unfortunate events that have occurred in Gotham over the past few years. With a history rooted in exploitation and murder, Gotham has always been about as dangerous as it is beautiful. Honestly, we don't see the appeal at all. Which is why we've compiled a list of five stories that make the end of "The Dark Knight Rises" look like child's play.

Read on for other stories beyond "Rises" that make one thing clear: it absolutely sucks to live in Gotham!

"The Court of Owls"

Scott Snyder's latest and greatest "Batman" arc revolves around an ancient society that has existed in secret, for over a century, underneath the sewers of Gotham City. This "Court of Owls" is a cabal consisting of Gotham's most elite socialites, who use murder as a means of wielding political influence. Throughout history these "Owls" have been kidnapping children from the circus and training them to become undead assassins known as Talons. Good thing Robin John's back story completely side-stepped Dick Grayson's circus-act beginnings, then!

"Arkham Asylum: Living Hell"

Whilst on trial for fraud, ruthless investment banker Warren White makes the mistake of pleading insanity to the court. Fully aware that Mr. White is of sound mind, the judge sends the devious investor to Arkham Asylum where he is locked up with Gotham's most psychotic and unstable prisoners. Eventually, the Asylum takes its toll on Mr. White; after being locked in Mr. Freeze's cell for several hours, White loses huge chunks of his face and sanity. Where's the Dent Act when you need it?

"Face the Face"

After an extensive amount of facial reconstruction, Harvey Dent gives up the Two-Face moniker and becomes a vigilante protector of Gotham under Batman's watch. But when a series of murders involving a double-barreled pistol occur, Batman's suspicion evokes a feeling of guilt in Dent which ultimately prompts the return of Two-Face. Unfortunately, Batman discovers evidence exonerating Dent from all crimes shortly after he's finished re-scarring half of his face with nitric acid and a scalpel.

"Gotham Central: Soft Targets"

Christmas comes early for the Clown Prince of Crime as he takes to randomly sniping both police officers and civilians in a murderous city-wide shooting spree. Targeting everyone from the Mayor on down, The Joker causes a mass hysteria as the Gotham City Police Department races the clock to put a stop to his shenanigans. To make matters worse, The Joker has made a website which features streaming webcam footage from each of his positions. Talk about your worst Christmas ever!

"No Man's Land"

Due to the massive earthquake that occurs during the "Cataclysm" story arc, Gotham City is declared a "no man's land" by the U.S. Government. Destroying all bridges leading to the city and forbidding, by law, the entrance or exit of any living person, Gotham becomes a free-for-all bloodbath carved up by the city's various gangs and supervillains. If you thought Bane seizing control of Gotham was bad, just imagine how much worse it is with all of Batman's enemies in charge.

Highlight your favorite Gotham City lows in the comments section below or on Twitter!