Rookie cop James Gordon was transferred from Gotham City to Chicago as part of a plan by Gillian Loeb, still only a captain. The plan was to cover up events that would eventually lead to the creation of the first Wrath. Gordon had shot a dirty cop and his wife while they were sneaking out of a warehouse, leaving their child alive. Gordon complied when Loeb threatened to kill the couple's young son, James Jr.. During his tenure in Chicago, Gordon struggled with his wife, Barbara Eileen Gordon over conceiving a child, and took university night classes in criminology. He faced brutality among the other officers after uncovering corruption within the force. Later, Gordon uncovered evidence of fraudulent results in the mayoral election and brought down two more of his fellow officers. Eventually, his commissioner recommended a speedy transfer to Gotham City for him, both for his own safety and for theirs.
A man of integrity, the newly-promoted Lt. Gordon found a close ally against the mob-controlled Gotham police department in the vigilante called Batman. Although they were at odds during their early encounters, Gordon eventually started to rely on the vigilante to assist him on cases. During his first year in Gotham City, Gordon exposed a large corruption ring inside the police department and he also started an affair with co-worker Sarah Essen, who moved away after realizing she was destroying Gordon's marriage. With his new status as Lieutenant, Gordon often met Batman in the rooftop of the GCPD, but he was forced to keep their working relationship out of the public eye whenever possible.
Gordon and Batman eventually forged an alliance with Harvey Dent, Gotham's District Attorney, as the three most dedicated and capable people to take down organized crime in Gotham, namely the "Roman Empire," the crime family led by Carmine Falcone. Although they did succeed, it was at the cost of Harvey's sanity, as he became the villainous Two-Face after being scarred with acid by one of Falcone's underlings, Sal Maroni. To this day, the loss of Harvey Dent, not just the ally but the man, is one of Gordon's greatest regrets, and he blames himself somewhat for not trusting Dent when the evidence pointed towards him. After Dent's transformation, Janice Porter became the new D.A. of Gotham. Gordon and Porter later began investigating a series of murders by a killer known as The Hangman. Porter was killed by Two-Face, and the Hangman was soon revealed to be Sofia Gigante Falcone, the daughter of Carmine Falcone. Sofia, too, was killed by Two-Face, ending the Falcone crime family's influence over Gotham.
After his brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car crash, Gordon became the legal guardian of his niece, Barbara Gordon, and later adopted her as his daughter. It was around this time that tensions in the Gordons' marriage led Barbara Eileen Gordon to leave her husband and Gotham City, taking James, Jr. with her. Their niece, Barbara, stayed with her adoptive father, and Gordon functions largely in this role to her. Barbara had idolized the Batman all of her life and was astonished after coming to Gotham to find that her uncle actually worked with him. At times, Barbara's relationship with her adoptive father was strained, as all parent-child ones are. Because the Batman brought him stress, as a rebellious act she made her own Bat-Girl costume to wear to a large costume party fundraiser hosted by the GCPD with her uncle as the guest of honor. Unexpectedly, Killer Moth interrupted the festivities with his goons, and Barbara was forced to use her black belt in karate to save billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. Afterward, she began adopting the identity of Batgirl, and although she met with some resistance at first from Batman and Robin, she was eventually able to prove her mettle and became a full member of the Batman Family. During her time as Batgirl, it was unclear as to whether or not Gordon knew her identity. He certainly seemed to suspect it, but she usually managed to at least create reasonable doubt. Robin, however, who had a crush on her from his previous interactions with her as Dick Grayson, was able to tell her identity from her facial features alone, and he did not even live with her.
The Killing Joke
A few years later, the Joker kidnapped Gordon from his home and shot Barbara, making her a paraplegic for life. He then took Gordon to a run-down amusement park he had souped-up, stripped him naked, put a collar with a leash on him, and caged him. In an effort to drive Gordon insane, he forced him to look at massively enlarged photos of Barbara naked and bleeding, degraded and in pain, so he could prove to Batman that even the most grounded, seemingly normal person can lose their minds after having "one bad day." Batman eventually apprehended the Joker and rescued Gordon. Despite the intense trauma he had endured, Gordon's sanity and code of ethics remained intact; before Batman left to pursue the Joker, Jim insisted that Batman apprehend the Joker without harming him, despite his atrocities, because the Joker had to be shown "that our way works."
The Return of Sarah Essen
As the head of the Police Department, Gordon was involved in some of the most high-profile and notorious criminal cases in Gotham. Gordon became heavily involved in the case of the "Batman Killings", in which a serial killer disposed of his victims in Batman costumes. Upon Joker's initial return after the crippling of Barbara, Gordon doubted his abilities to self-control and he feared he would kill the madman. Things took a twist when he learned that there was another Joker impersonating the original. With help from Batman, Gordon captured the real madman and sent him back to Arkham, despite his will to kill him. The fake Joker killed himself.
After that incident, James resumed his romantic relationship with his long-forgotten affair, Sarah Essen. She returned to Gotham after many years and since she was widowed and Gordon was divorced, they officially became romantically involved. Gordon suffered a stroke almost immediately after the reunion, but thanks to Sarah's presence, his recovery went well.
Gordon investigated the murder of a gangster "No-Nose" Novak and later he worked together with Batman to bring down Black Mask and his gang, the False Face Society. After that, Gordon learned that he had been targeted by the assassin known as Headhunter and he went out looking for the assassin. Gordon got lucky when he avoided two direct shots to the head from the assassin and he was saved by the timely arrival of Batman. Gordon arrested the assassin and took him to the GCPD Headquarters, where he joined his worried wife Sarah.
Soon after that, Gordon informed Batman about The General and The Riddler's activities. Gordon was informed about the theft of armament from a military precinct, after which, all the inmates from Arkham were released. Mayor Krol demanded Gordon that the police kill all the inmates on the street but Gordon refused. Tension grew between them and after Krol threatened to remove Gordon as Police Commissioner, giving him 24 hours to get the situation under control. Unfortunately, Gordon was soon attacked by Cornelius Stirk, who tried to kill Gordon. Batman appeared in time to save Gordon and took down Stirk. After the confrontation, Gordon was left in shock and had to be carried away by his wife, Sarah.
A few days later, Gordon received a call from Mayor Krol, informing him about his abduction and asking him to summon the National Guard. Gordon traced the call to the booth inside the Gotham River Tunnel, where he moved the entire GCPD, only to find he wasn't able to enter as the tunnel had been blocked. Moments later, Gordon and the others located Krol near the edge of the river and they acted quickly to get the man some medical attention.
When Batman was exposed after his defeat at the hands of Bane, Gordon tried to contact Batman by turning on the Bat-Signal, to no avail. He was then contacted by Robin, who asked for his help getting decadron, a controlled substance not widely available, for Batman. Gordon had Bullock and Montoya deliver the package.
Gordon had no more news about Batman's state and with Bane taking control of the organized crime in Gotham, he had no choice but to summon Batman, who answered the Bat-Signal as if nothing had happened. A few nights later, Gordon talked to Batman about the capture of Bane's henchmen, but during the conversation, Gordon noticed that Batman didn't pull his disappearing act on him, which made him suspicious about Batman's real identity. Gordon then witnessed the final fight between Batman and Bane. Already suspicious, Gordon's doubts increased when he realized Batman was wearing new battle armor. Gordon's faith was tested when Batman defeated Bane and he had the chance to kill the criminal, but when he refused to do it, allowing the police to arrest Bane, Gordon believed that Batman was the same man he knew.
Battle of the BatmenHowever, after the GCPD reported several criminals brutalized by Batman, Gordon started to doubt the crime-fighter's real identity. Unfortunately, the new harsh methods of Batman were approved by Mayor Krol, who urged Gordon to adopt such policies within the GCPD. Gordon realized that Batman had definitely changed when the vigilante suddenly accused Catwoman of being responsible for a terrorist attempt. Afterwards, Gordon organized the GCPD to be on the lookout for the Joker, who was apparently planning to kill Batman. Despite all the evidence against Batman and his new attitude for crime, Gordon wouldn't believe that the man in the costume was another person until he learned that the vigilante had let the serial killer Abattoir die during their confrontation, thus dooming Abattoir's last victim to a slow and painful death. Gordon summoned Batman using the Bat-Signal and confronted this new and unknown man for not following the law and regular procedure as the previous Batman did. The new Batman replied that he wouldn't change his ways and that Gordon should learn to live with it. Feeling betrayed and helpless, Gordon smashed the Bat-Signal, as a symbol of his disconnection from Batman.
With Gotham sunk in chaos, Gordon started to lose hope and even tried to talk the Mayor out of supporting Batman when suddenly, he was warned about the original Batman's comeback. Gordon hurried down to the scene, but didn't make it in time. After learning about the situation, Gordon immediately had the Bat-Signal repaired and he used it the next night during a museum heist, in which he witnessed the return of the original Batman.
When Gordon next summoned Batman with the repaired Bat-Signal, he soon realized that he was dealing with a third Batman, and felt offended that nobody believed he would suspect or notice the difference. Gordon is temporarily replaced as Commissioner by Sarah due to his new issues with the Dark Knight, but he regains his old role after the return of the original Batman.
No Man's Land
Gotham City was nearly completely destroyed and quarantined from outside assistance by the U.S. Government. Gordon was one of the few who remained behind by choice and struggled to maintain order amidst the rampant crime and anarchy. Batman was mysteriously absent for the initial three months of the crisis, and Gordon felt somewhat betrayed. He went as far as to renounce Batman's name and deny his symbol as a means for protection, believing that it only symbolized false hope. He forged an uneasy alliance with his old friend Harvey Dent (Two-Face), but was later (naturally) double-crossed, kidnapped, and put on trial by Two-Face for breaking their "legally-binding" alliance. He escaped Two-Face's wrath, and later met with Batman once again. In this confrontation, Gordon expressed his disgust towards Batman for letting Gotham "fall into ruin". Batman offered to prove his trust by revealing his secret identity, but Gordon refused to look when Batman removed his mask. Eventually their relationship was repaired.
After Gordon's relationship with his wife Barbara had become strained, the two eventually divorced. He fell in love with and married fellow officer Sarah Essen, with whom he was much more compatible. However, Essen could not comprehend why Gordon needed Batman so much, which occasionally also put a strain on their relationship, although basically they loved each other and got along well. Unfortunately, she was shot in the head by the Joker for catching a baby he had thrown at her after he told her not to move. An enraged Gordon was barely able to restrain himself from killing the Joker but did end up brutally shooting the Joker in the knee. Afterward, the Joker was at first incredulous, believing that Gordon may have shot him so he could never walk again, but soon he began to laugh, after he "got the joke," that Gordon had just avenged his daughter.
Gordon was gunned down by a crooked police officer, a man of whose family he had been arrested in front of by Gordon. Although Gordon was put into a coma, he did eventually pull through, and the true meaning of his relationship with Batman was more heavily gone into. Batman was nearly unable to work with the rest of the Gotham Knights in bringing down the shooter, spending all of his time at Gordon's bedside. Barbara and his more loyal amongst the GCPD, such as his longtime friends Harvey Bullock, Renée Montoya and Crispus Allen were among those hardest hit, Barbara more so than anyone else. Although the assailant was eventually brought in for interrogation, they were unable to successfully prosecute him, and he ended up with his revenge taken on Gordon, but still at large. This is arguably the fault of Crispus Allen, who refused to use the Batman as an interrogation tool until the very end of the time they were allowed legally to hold him, believing it immoral, allowing the man to leave the cell without ever explicitly saying anything to confirm whether he'd shot Gordon or not.
Gordon retired from the police force after having served in it for more than 20 years. He remained in Gotham, and occasionally enjoyed nighttime visits from Batman, who would come to him for advice and, although the topic was clearly directly avoided by Bruce, for companionship. Commissioner Michael Akins became the new head of the GCPD after his departure. Gordon's most prominent moment in Batman's life during this time was when he was contacted by the currently-reformed Harvey Dent to stop Batman from beating the Joker to death after the Joker was framed for the apparent murder of Thomas Elliot, helping Batman get through his rage to see that killing the Joker would accomplish nothing but make him just another criminal, Gordon refused to allow his friend to fall like that.
Shortly after, Gordon was summoned to a hospital by Robin, who needed Gordon's help protecting an injured Ventriloquist and a deranged Frank Ivers. However, Robin and Gordon fell victims to an infectious neurotoxin that caused them to attack each other and lose control of their inhibitions, resulting in chaos for the situation. With help from Frank Ivers, Gordon and Robin were freed from the fear and returned to normality.
Sometime later, Gotham became a war zone as a city-wide gang war broke out. After talking with Michael Akins, Batman approached Gordon and tried to make him convince Akins to give him the control of the GCPD, but Gordon refused to do so since he believed Batman had no right to ask such thing. When the war was over, Barbara Gordon decided to leave the city and James decided to do the same. During a brief conversation with Batman, Gordon informed him about his decision. Shortly after, Gordon sold his house to Brad Westwood, not knowing that he was in fact, Batman. Batman kept Gordon's home intact and only used the basement as a small headquarters.
When Barbara required surgery to save her life from the Brainiac virus while in Metropolis, Gordon visited her. She revealed to him her current role as Oracle, as well as her past as Batgirl. Gordon admitted that he knew of her life as Batgirl, but was pleasantly surprised to hear that even after being crippled, she had found a way to continue her life as a superhero. He continues to be very proud of her accomplishments.
Gordon returned to the role of Gotham's Police Commissioner. The GCPD had uncovered immense corruption from within, reportedly reaching all the way up to Commissioner Akins himself. Commissioner Gordon continued to work with and without the aid of Batman and Robin, constantly striving for a better Gotham City.
Gordon arrested one of Le Bossu's henchmen and shortly after, he was contacted by the Mayor of Gotham, who informed Gordon about a horrid discovery about the Wayne Family. The Mayor had the intention to made it public, but Gordon refused to believe anything about the story. However, the evidence was clear and there was nothing Gordon could do about it.
Gordon decided to reach Bruce Wayne before the media revealed the information, so he went to Wayne Manor to talk with him. However, Gordon walked into a trap set by The Black Glove and the officer with him was killed in the house. Gordon managed to avoid activating any other traps set by El Sombrero until he was forced to run to prevent a bomb from exploding. However, he was saved by the timely arrival of Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins who were investigating Batman's disappearance. After being saved, Gordon summoned more officers and followed Talia's men to Arkham Asylum, but they stopped before arriving there as a massive explosion took place in the river. Gordon was told that Batman was investigating the conspiracy against Bruce Wayne at Arkham.
After, Gordon tried to contact Batman to no avail. He turned the Bat-Signal on for long periods of time, but Batman didn't come. His hopes were crushed when instead of Batman, Geo-Force and Katana appeared to ask him about Batman. Gordon knew that Batman was probably gone for good when Nightwing appeared and started to beat some street thugs with unnecessary violence.
As time passed, Gordon would always turn on the Bat-Signal for hours, hoping that Batman would suddenly appear. When working on a case against Two-Face, Gordon tried to contact Batman once more, but it was Nightwing who answered and Gordon lost hopes of Batman ever returning.
Battle for the Cowl
Gotham City was overwhelmed with crime after Batman's death and the GCPD couldn't handle the critical situation. The people of Gotham organized a strike demanding Gordon's resignation and after a failed press conference, Gordon noticed a Bat-Signal lit up in the sky, with the letters "R.I.P." on it. Following the source, Gordon arrived at Arkham Asylum, place which had been destroyed and where he also met Nightwing.
Hours later, Gordon met with the Major and wasn't able to give a solution to the Arkham situation. He then returned to the GCPD, where he was informed about Mr. Freeze's sighting. He then took a whole tactical team to the place. However, Freeze overpowered them, captured Gordon and escaped the place with his hostage. After fourteen hours of captivity, Gordon attacked Freeze, freed himself and defeated Freeze by creating a giant explosion that caught the attention of the entire GCPD. Soon after, a new Batman - who killed criminals - appeared and Gordon decided to reinforce the rightful law in Gotham. Barbara returned to Gotham and James took her out at night for dinner.
A few days later, Gordon was informed of an arms shipment stolen from Two-Face and he assumed that the one responsible was Penguin. Gordon wanted to arrest him, but there wasn't enough evidence. At that moment, the GCPD HQ was infiltrated by several Arkham fugitives and Jane Doe attacked Gordon, supposedly under Two-Face's instructions and shot him thrice in the chest. Gordon survived thanks to his bulletproof vest, but Gotham was drowned in chaos with little he could do.
While mourning the passing of the original Dark Knight Detective, Gordon and his daughter witnessed Hal Jordan crash into the Bat-Signal after being assaulted by a reanimated version of the deceased Martian Manhunter. After offering the hero a spare car, the Gordons then found themselves fighting for their lives against the reanimated versions of the original Batman's rogue gallery members at Gotham Central, where Gordon made short work of serial killer Abattoir (in Black Lantern form) with a shotgun (pumping rounds into him leaving nothing but his feet intact, showcasing his nastiness with the 12 gauge). They were rescued by the current Dark Knight, Robin, Red Robin, and Deadman, but were later attacked by Batman's and Red Robin's parents, the reanimated Flying Graysons and the Drakes. While Batman and Red Robin battled the Black Lanterns, Robin took the Gordons to their underground base where Alfred tended his wounds (Gordon was unconscious, thus protecting the team's secret identities) along with Barbara's at the bunker's infirmary.
Shortly after, a new Batman appeared in Gotham and the city's status quo returned. When the reporter Vicki Vale's life was threatened by several criminals who wanted to get their hands on her, the GCPD placed her in a special protection program. Gordon and a small team hid her in the Aames Hotel, but they were found and attacked by a couple of Penguin's mercenaries. Gordon managed to get Vale out of the building alive with help from the mysterious vigilante, Insider. After that night, Gordon realized that Insider was, in fact, the original Batman, who had returned.
The Black Mirror
The Commissioner was surprised when his son James Jr. returned to Gotham. Barbara tried to warn him that her step-brother was a psychopath, but young James confronted his father. He explained that he was taking medication for his psychopathic tendencies, and asked his father not to get in the way of him getting a job with Leslie Thompkins. Gordon hunted down an old child murderer and began to suspect that he might have been wrong about the young girl they believe his son killed as a child. Sonia Zucco was targeted by the super-villains Roadrunner and Tiger Shark, so, Gordon had Batman help track down her friend's killer. Barbara ran tests on James Jr.'s medication and found he had reversed the formula, to increase psychopathic tendencies instead of limit them. They realized he was using his job with Leslie Thompkins to turn thousands of infants into psychopaths like him. Barbara Eileen is attacked by a toxin and they hunted down the Joker, but James Jr. revealed himself as the culprit when he kidnapped his step-sister. Batman hunted James Jr. down and stopped him. The Commissioner shot his own son in the legs and then stopped him from jumping off a bridge. They were unsure whether or not they really stopped his plan to turn infants into psychopaths.
- Criminology: James Gordon received an honorary doctorate in the field of criminology from Gotham State University.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Gordon served in the United States military and was trained in hand-to-hand combat. By his own account, his martial prowess was honed to the point that he could defeat a Green Beret in physical combat.
- Law: James Gordon is proficient in all aspects of criminal detective work and police procedural matters. He also has a keen instinct in regards to the political aspects of managing the Gotham City Police Department.
- Indomitable Will: He has also shown a remarkable strength of will and an ability to maintain his mental fortitude and sanity in situations when other characters such as Batman or Superman would have broken.
- Leadership: He is also an expert leader, having spent decades as the leader of the world's most corrupt police force in the most dangerous city. That he has managed to not only survive but to make the GCPD stronger is a testament to his abilities.
- Marksmanship Already shot a guy with a motorcycle in motion, and even in the tire of a car at high speed.
- Military Protocol: In his youth, Gordon served in the United States military.
- Cardiac Condition: Jim Gordon has a heart condition, which he contracted after a lifetime of cigarette smoking. He has since quit but occasionally relapses in times of stress or as an excuse to go to the top of the GCPD building.
- The character of Commissioner Gordon was originally created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane and first appeared in Detective Comics #27. The New Earth incarnation of James Gordon's character is mostly attributed to Dennis O'Neil and Frank Miller, first appearing in Batman #404.
- Throughout his career James Gordon has been known as: the Commish; Jim Gordon; Sgt. Gordon; Lt. Gordon; and Captain Gordon.
- In the alternate reality seen in Zero Hour Gordon was shot and killed by the Joker.
- According to Nightwing, Gordon took up a pipe to quit smoking cigarettes.
- Batman: Year One
- Batman: Gordon of Gotham
- Batman: The Wrath (Collected)
- Batman: The Long Halloween
- Batman: Dark Victory
- Batman: Turning Points
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Batman: No Man's Land
- Batman: Officer Down
- Batman: Gordon's Law
- 946 Appearances of James Gordon (New Earth)
- 187 Images featuring James Gordon (New Earth)
- 68 Quotations by or about James Gordon (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: James Gordon (New Earth)
- ↑ Batman Confidential #13-16
- ↑ Batman: Gordon of Gotham #1-4
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Batman #404-407
- ↑ Batman: The Long Halloween
- ↑ Batgirl: Year One
- ↑ Many Deaths of the Batman
- ↑ Batman #450
- ↑ Batman #451
- ↑ Batman #458
- ↑ Batman #459
- ↑ Detective Comics #626
- ↑ Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1
- ↑ Batman #485
- ↑ Batman #487
- ↑ Detective Comics #654
- ↑ Batman #490
- ↑ Batman #491
- ↑ Batman #493
- ↑ Batman #494
- ↑ Batman #496
- ↑ Detective Comics #663
- ↑ Detective Comics #664
- ↑ Batman #498
- ↑ Detective Comics #666
- ↑ Batman #500
- ↑ Batman #501
- ↑ Batman #502
- ↑ Batman #503
- ↑ Detective Comics #672
- ↑ Detective Comics #673
- ↑ Batman: Shadow of the Bat #28
- ↑ Robin (Volume 2) #8
- ↑ Batman #510
- ↑ Batman: Shadow of the Bat #30
- ↑ Robin (Volume 2) #9
- ↑ Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #125
- ↑ Detective Comics #741
- ↑ Detective Comics #808
- ↑ Detective Comics #813
- ↑ Detective Comics #814
- ↑ Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #183
- ↑ Detective Comics #800
- ↑ Batman #642
- ↑ Batman: Face the Face
- ↑ Batman #677
- ↑ Batman #679
- ↑ Batman #689
- ↑ Batman #681
- ↑ Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #11
- ↑ Detective Comics #851
- ↑ Batman #684
- ↑ Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1
- ↑ Battle for the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon #1
- ↑ Oracle: The Cure #1
- ↑ Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2
- ↑ Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3
- ↑ Blackest Night #2
- ↑ Blackest Night: Batman #2
- ↑ Blackest Night: Batman #3
- ↑ Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon #1
- ↑ Detective Comics #871
- ↑ Detective Comics #872
- ↑ Detective Comics #873
- ↑ Detective Comics #875
- ↑ Detective Comics #876, 877 & 878
- ↑ Detective Comics #879
- ↑ Detective Comics #880
- ↑ Detective Comics #881
- ↑ Gotham Central #2
- ↑ The Killing Joke
- ↑ Batman: Gordon's Law (Volume 1)
- ↑ Batman #511
- ↑ Nightwing (Volume 2) #104
|GCPD Officer |
This character is or was an officer of, or held a title in the Gotham City Police Department, in any of its various incarnations. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "GCPD members" and "Police Officers" categories.
|Batman Family member |
This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Batman, and a member of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Family members" category.