“What if” Series is a new column by TeeHunter’s creative authors. Here, we will turn movies and comics inside out, generating new stories by altering significant events. It’s for the hardcore fan who enjoys re-imagining the characters and worlds they love.
There are a few references in the long history of Superman Comics that explain why Clark Kent chose to move to Metropolis. But what if Clark Kent made his home in Metropolis’ twin city? Gotham!
Metropolis has its fair share of crime, but Clark Kent had to be aware that things were worse in Gotham before Batman made his appearance. At one point, Clark was considering attending Gotham University. So what if he ended up studying in Gotham instead of Metropolis?
Gotham City has newspapers, quite a few of them if you take in all the incarnations of Batman: The Gotham Times, Gotham Observer and The Daily Gotham to name a few. But the most well known is the Gotham Gazette. Maybe its name doesn’t travel as well as The Daily Planet, but it’s still a reputable newspaper.
Clark Kent would intern at the Gazette and go on to get a job as a reporter. He’d work along side Vicki Vale, they’d have a friendly rivalry that would turn into a friendship… then more.
With crime being out of control on Gotham, Vicki will try to expose those involved, which will lead her into some sticky situations. She is discovered spying on an organized crime meeting, and is about to meet her untimely demise. But Superman makes his first appearance, rescuing Vicki and exposing Gotham’s crime bosses.
(Meanwhile, in Metropolis, without Superman to save her butt, Lois Lane is probably dead or in a coma or something bad. Sorry, Lois.)
All this time, Bruce Wayne has been slowly infiltrating Gotham City as Batman. He’s taking on small time crooks here and there. Batman is surprised that this Superman character has shown up and busted a major crime ring. But, as feared, most of them ended up cutting deals with their prosecutors and were back out on the streets. Superman may be threatening, but he does not put the fear of wanting to confess into these criminals as Batman would.
Not happy that they’re still walking the streets, Batman begins to target them one by one. Soon the Gotham underworld is disrupted by the fear of the Batman. As this info makes its way into the public, Clark Kent investigates the Batman, while Vicki Vale reports on Superman.
Gotham now has two caped crusaders trying to clean up the streets: the black sheep, Batman, and the white knight, Superman. Superman is fighting for truth justice and the American way, while Batman is a thug beating up other thugs. The two find themselves in quiet competition. Batman will target the criminals, and Superman will swoop in, arrest them and receive all the glory.
But at the end of the day, the charges are not sticking. Batman is not happy about this and wants Superman out of his city. Vicki Vale uncovers that Superman is an alien, which makes Batman even more suspicious. Who knows what this creature is capable of doing to the planet, never mind Gotham.
Clark Kent continues to write scathing articles on the Batman, and how he should be outlawed. These stories put pressure on Commissioner Gordon not to associate with The Dark Knight (he will in private, but this will take a toll on Gordon’s career, and Batman’s ability to fight crime). Vicki is Superman’s cheerleader in the press, which makes Bruce Wayne seek her out as he tries to learn all he can about his competition.
Bruce’s attraction to Vicki throws a wrench into Clark and Vicki’s relationship. They will begin to date, making Clark partially jealous, and partially suspicious of Bruce Wayne’s motives. Superman will spy on one of their dates at Wayne Manor. And as luck would have it for Superman, this is the night Bruce Wayne confesses to being Batman.
Using his super hearing and x-ray vision, Superman gets all the info on Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, as well as the location of the Batcave. Superman also learns that Batman has been collecting on how to stop him if he needed to do so.
Back on the streets, the tension between the superheroes intensifies. Neither wants the other to be on the streets of Gotham. But each vows to continue, not needing the other’s approval.
At a big social gala in Bruce Wayne’s Gotham penthouse, Clark Kent will grow tired of watching Bruce Wayne flirt with Vicki Vale and pull him aside. Clark threatens to expose Bruce Wayne as Batman if he doesn’t stay away from Vicki. Bruce realizes the only way Clark could have this information was if he were Superman.
The months of tension erupt into physical blows. Clark strikes the first blow at Bruce. Bruce is knocked for a loop, but able to get to his Batsuit and prepare for the battle royale with Superman.
Batman’s first thought is to take the battle away from civilians. As he attempts to do this, the GCPD arrive on the scene. They see Batman as the bad guy and open fire on him, knowing the bullets with bounce of the Man of Steel. Shot multiple times, Batman still leads Superman to the Batcave, assuming he’d have the home court advantage. But Superman knows the lay of the land, and is also ready for all the plans Batman came up with to stop him.
Knowing this is his only chance to put Batman out of commission, Superman cuts loose on him. It all comes out: the anger, the jealousy, the rage. Ala Bane, Superman beats Batman into submission. He doesn’t stop there, and ends up beating the man within an inch of his life.
A defeated Bruce Wayne remains on life support while his legacy is debated among the people of Gotham. Superman’s Boy Scout image has been destroyed. Crime runs rapid in Gotham. And Vicki Vale wants nothing to do with Clark Kent; she spends most of her time at Bruce’s bedside.
So, perhaps it was best that Clark Kent chose Metropolis University. Living in Gotham may have made him the victor in Batman vs. Superman, but he would be the loser in everything else.