WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the DC Ink original graphic novel Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz and Thomas Pitilli, available now.
The DC Ink original graphic novel Gotham High is a complete re-imagining of the Batman mythos. In the comic, Bruce Wayne is a young, Asian-American orphan who is expelled from a prestigious school. Forced to enroll at Gotham High, the brooding teenager shares the school’s halls with other classmates such as Selina Kyle, Barbie Gordon, Jack Napier and Harvey Dent. There is also a mystery at play here, one that involves a gang of thieves and kidnappers who have made rich students their target — and Bruce and his friends are caught right in the middle of it.
If anything, Gotham High is the Riverdale equivalent of Batman comics. The television series, as well as the Archie comic books it is based on, are famous for being home to the Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle. Just like in the world of Archie, Gotham High has a love triangle of its own — between Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle and Jack Napier.
In Gotham High, Bruce and Selina were childhood friends and neighbors (just like Archie and Betty in Riverdale). However, after the death of his parents, Bruce was shipped off to boarding school and the two lost touch. Now, after getting expelled, Bruce returns home to Gotham and reconnects with Selina. It’s clear there is an old spark between the two teenagers, who grow closer and closer throughout the book.
However, Bruce Wayne isn’t Selina Kyle’s only suitor. In fact, there is also the school’s resident ‘bad boy,’ Jack Napier. Jack is the generally accepted identity of the Joker before he would become the frightening Clown Prince of Crime. This Jack is clearly meant to be Gotham High‘s proto-Joker. He’s the leader of a gang called the Pranksters, he loves to laugh and he’s great at playing cards. Napier has an edge to him — he may not be a criminal mastermind, but he’s already up to bad tricks, like stealing money from wealthy kids. As it turns out, he’s also in love with Selina.
For her part, Selina is leading him on. The two of them are close friends and she is not opposed to taking things further. But there is also the presence of Bruce, which adds an extra layer of complication. In fact, late in the book, Selina’s narration makes it clear she is in love with both Jack and Bruce and that she can’t really choose one or the other.
As for the two boys, they surprisingly end up becoming good friends in the graphic novel — maybe even best friends, just like Betty and Veronica. Still, their shared affection for Selina drives a wedge between them and it becomes a source of dispute. So which one does she end up choosing?
Neither. As Bruce tries to uncover the mysterious string of kidnappings taking place in his school, he discovers Selina is actually the mastermind behind it all. It’s all part of her plan to get early access to her trust fund so she can get her father the medical help he needs. What’s more, this elaborate plan involves using and deceiving both Bruce and Jack.
As to whether she really loves them or is just scheming, the truth might be somewhere in the middle. At the end of the book, Selina ends up taking a long vacation away from Gotham, but she promises she’ll return. Meanwhile, Bruce and Jack go back to being friends. That is, until something else drives them apart — something that may create a maniacal villain and a dark knight.
In Melissa de la Cruz and Thomas Pitilli's Gotham High, a new take on the Batman mythos introduces a love triangle between Bruce, Selina and Joker.