You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!

Having heard about Harlivy and become a diehard support of The Movement, it’s time to shift gears a bit. We need to understand No Man’s Land if we’re going to understand Infinite Crisis – so Kelly Kanayama, why is Jim Gordon SO SAD ALL THE TIME?


Kelly! Rosie Knight told me all about Jim Gordon’s wife being killed at the end of No Man’s Land. What happened to her, and why was she killed?

Kelly Kanayama: I had to look this up to make sure I hadn’t somehow cobbled it together from various other plotlines, but no, this is how it goes down: Jim Gordon’s wife, Sarah Essen, confronts the Joker in the basement of the police station (I thought it was a warehouse before I went back to check. A warehouse would have been a lot less bizarre), where he’s holed up with a bunch of babies that he’s kidnapped for some reason. She has a gun drawn on the Joker and everything, but then he throws one of the babies at her and she drops her gun in order to catch/save the baby, whereupon the Joker shoots her.

And then the Joker walks out and Jim Gordon shoots him in the leg.

As for the why of Sarah’s death – who knows. Probably because the Joker is just that damn tWistEd.

In the comic, this is portrayed as a tense, totally serious standoff, but now that I’m summarizing it, it sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place in the Gotham TV show. A major character death that comes as a result of the Joker throwing a baby at them? All it needs is some funky asymmetrical haircuts and it’s ready for Gotham Season 27 or whatever.

Dare I ask… has anything else bad ever happened to Jim over the years?

Kanayama: His job is hard, man. It’s a hard life, being a cop in Gotham City. Both the higher-ups and his subordinates are often corrupt, which makes things difficult for Jim, the last honest cop left in Gotham, unless you count the handful of other police officers who show up as Bat-allies, like Montoya et al. In real life it’s ACAB; in Gotham it’s ACAS (All Cops Are Sad) and OTVMOCBNAAB (Only The Vast Majority Of Cops, But Not All, Are Bad). Plus the media and his fellow cops keep giving him grief about the whole “being best buds with a vigilante and giving him license to maim people” thing, because they can’t understand justice the way Jim does.

Plus, there’s his family life: the events of The Killing Joke, the psychotic son (Black Mirror) (the Batman comic, not the Charlie Brooker show) (what if psychosis….but too much?), divorced from his first wife, second wife murdered.

A thought: James Gordon Jr., Jim’s psychotic son, lived with his mother/Jim’s first wife, Barbara, in a whole different state. Kind of like in Frasier, how Frasier’s son Frederick lives across the country and they only see each other a few times a year. Although Frederick did not to my knowledge develop any sort of mental illnesses that manifested in harmful actions, he did turn into a goth in the last season of Frasier. Fathers, be good to your sons, no matter how extremely divorced you are.

Ah. I see. Has he… ever had happiness??

Kanayama: Perhaps once, long ago, he smelled a scent on the breeze that reminded him in some ineffable way of summers at his grandmother’s house during his childhood, when he would help her bake cinnamon snickerdoodles and they would both eat spoonfuls of raw cookie dough and she would tell him about life in the old days while they waited for each batch to finish.

Or, you know, maybe not. I just made all that up. But see? It’s not that hard to cut the man a break. Let him feel something other than cop anger and moments of wordless bro bonding with Batman when dude is squatting on Jim’s office windowsill at 5 AM.


Kelly, thank you! I knew you were the right person to ask about Jim’s Eternal Sadness. What was that comment you made about… Frasier… though? Is that part of DC Canon? I’d better go find someone who can explain who Frasier and Frederick are – the future of the multiverse depends on it!

Kelly Kanayama is a writer and comics scholar who is literally writing the book on Garth Ennis. Don’t believe me? Have a look at her Patreon page hereYou can also find Kelly on Twitter here, highly recommended