Throughout the vast DC universe, Batman and Gotham City have been some of the most crucial elements of the comic book publisher's mythos. While it can be admittedly intimidating to newcomers to the medium, the multitude of continuities in DC Comics paved the way for a variety of notable takes on the crime-noir world of Gotham City.

Many of these interpretations of the city also came during milestone moments and turning points in the publisher's catalog. Between the fresh reboot with the New Earth continuity to the invigorating cyberpunk take with Neo-Gotham, some versions of the iconic city burst with personality.

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10 Neo-Gotham

Batman standing on a rooftop in Neo-Gotham for Batman Beyond: Neo-Year art.

Though not as prolific, Batman Beyond spawned some noteworthy comic book series. And just as important as Terry McGinnis' incarnation of the Dark Knight was to this world was its cyberpunk neo-noir version of Gotham City. Fittingly named Neo Gotham City, this take on the city drips with a distinctive atmosphere that stands out among Batman's many celebrated stories.

Effectively a cocktail of Batman, Spider-Man 2099, and Blade Runner; Neo-Gotham bleeds with a stylish and moody personality. While it also technically falls under the DC Animated Universe, Neo-Gotham is an engrossing sandbox thanks to keeping the gloomy core of what makes Gotham recognizable while giving it a new coat of paint.

9 DC Animated Universe

Batman's silhouette as he stands on a Gotham City rooftop in The Animated Series.

The Dark Knight's corner of the DC Animated Universe is revered as one of the best Batman continuities in all of DC media, and that's also in part due to the impression Gotham City makes. This rendition of the character and his city was a love letter to the comics while also planting its flag thanks to a striking art style.

It taps into the crime-noir roots of Batman's source material and ingeniously blends it with an art deco art direction affectionately dubbed "dark deco." The result is a stunning, haunting, and lived-in Gotham City with vaguely 1940s aesthetics and the spirit of pulpy crime-noir stories.

8 The New 52

Split image of Batman with the cityscape in the background in The Court of Owls and Zero Year.

The last major reboot DC Comics had across its books, The New 52 treated the Caped Crusader incredibly well overall. Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo's mainline Batman run was a highlight of this renaissance, with their vision of Gotham City proving vital to story arcs like The Court of Owls and Zero Year.

The city is essentially positioned as a background character from the start of the duo's run, with its many historical facets and denizens serving as its extended personality. It's part of why the Court is such a compelling and formidable group of villains, as they upended and challenged the Dark Detective's knowledge about his home.

7 New Earth

Split image of David Mazzucchelli's Year One and Tim Sale's The Long Halloween art.

DC Comics' first major brand-wide reboot came in the aftermath of the milestone Crisis on Infinite Earths series, paving the way for the New Earth continuity. This timeline's earlier years featured some of the most celebrated Batman comics available today, including Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Year One as well as Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's The Long Halloween.

Dennis O'Neil deserves the credit for jumpstarting Batman's redemption in the comics in the '70s, with these New Earth comics setting the tone for an exciting evolution of the hero's noir stomping grounds. Thanks to Mazzucchelli and Sale's artistry, these visualizations of Gotham would feel right at home in a Martin Scorsese movie.

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6 Gotham By Gaslight

Batman perched on a rooftop with the Victorian-era Gotham City cityscape in the background.

While Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is commonly celebrated as the best alternate-timeline Batman comics. However, Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola, P. Craig Russell, and David Hornung's Gotham by Gaslight is easily one of the most inventive interpretations of Batman and his city.

Set in the late 1800s, the World's Greatest Detective is tasked with tracking down Jack the Ripper, who made his way to Gotham. It's a brilliant Elseworlds concept for the hero, and it also realized one of the most memorable versions of the city. Doing away with the usual neo-noir wrappings, this take on Gotham blends seamlessly with Victorian-era visuals and steampunk aesthetics.

5 The Dark Knight Returns

Split image of Batman's silhouette as lightning strikes and Bruce walking the streets of Gotham.

The Dark Knight Returns became one of the most acclaimed and best-selling DC comic books. A gem of the publisher's Elseworlds imprint, this series saw a retired Bruce Wayne return to the cape and cowl since Gotham City is being crushed under the boot of its political dystopia.

Gotham is no stranger to systemic corruption regardless of the continuity, but the world depicted in TDKR feels noticeably different in its darkness compared to others. The political dystopia angle gives it its unique flavor, with a Gotham more desperate than usual as it's been regularly neglected by a federal government more interested in using Superman for international conquest and torn apart by the rule of street gangs.

4 The Doom That Came To Gotham

Batman holding a gun in cover art for The Doom That Came to Gotham in DC comics

The Doom That Came to Gotham took things in an even bolder direction than the aforementioned Gotham by Gaslight. Mike Mignola, Richard Pace, Troy Nixey, Dennis Janke, and Dave Stewart's comic takes Batman to the 1920s, as he's forced to quell the reawakened being known as the Lurker on the Threshold.

In the process, the Elseworlds tale paints Gotham with an industrial aesthetic reminiscent of the era and as a bustling port town—but with Lovecraftian horrors secretly influencing the city's destitution underneath. While writers have toyed with supernatural forces in the main continuity, the Eldritch monstrosities contrasted with the city's surface-level reimagination make this version of Gotham stand out.

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3 Golden Age

Batman capturing and armed criminal as he swings from the Gotham City rooftops.

Though it's aged noticeably by today's standards, Batman's earliest years during the Golden Age of Comic Books are one of the most important to the character and Gotham. It was more of a product of its time and a reflection of the current era, with the Golden Age depiction of Gotham City embodying the pulpy noir atmosphere seen in similar magazines and comic strips of the time.

This was back in the days of Batman being a more generic gun-toting pulp vigilante. However, this take on the character and his gritty setting stood out in the '40s and would serve as the foundation that Dennis O'Neil would build upon and modernize from the '70s and is still seen today.

2 White Knight

Bruce Wayne holding his cape and cowl in front of him with Gotham's cityscape in the background.

Sean Murphy's White Knight has arguably been the most prolific alternate-timeline comic series for the hero. DC Black Label paved the way for several memorable Batman tales, but Murphy's universe has been the biggest visual highlight.

Similar to how other iterations of Gotham City distinguished themselves, this version uprooted and reimagined much of what's popularly known as Batman and the city's mythos. Part of this is also thanks to Murphy's gloomily striking art. From Curse of the White Knight's roots to the Wayne family legacy and Azrael's cult to Beyond's way of blending Bruce's world with Terry McGinnis' cyberpunk setting, this Gotham has a one-of-a-kind identity.

1 Flashpoint

The Flashpoint version of Batman standing in Gotham City's Crime Alley.

The New 52 saw Snyder and Capullo's Gotham City becoming Batman's new focal point for Prime Earth, but the famous Flashpoint story arc first explored another timeline. This storyline sees the Flash (Barry Allen) become temporarily transported to a heavily distorted continuity where, among other things, Bruce Wayne was killed in Crime Alley and Thomas became a bleaker Caped Crusader.

As such, this Gotham City is a reflection of its even darker incarnation of Batman, where it's easily one of the most dangerous cities in the world and is lost in a perpetual cycle of cruelty. It's one of the most important alternate takes on Gotham to directly affect the mainline version, simply by being its grimdark counterpart.

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