- "Wayne promised this world's fair would be a paradise of cleanliness and light. But what does a light in the darkness do? It draws flies. Vile, unclean. Like YOU. But for every one of you I eradicate, two more arrive. I promised the people of Gotham to clean the scum off the streets. Thieves, murderers, confidence men, immigrants, illiterates, anarchists. This city seems to spawn them. But it's WHORES, you painted whores, that are the worst. All rosy cheeked, soft, and round on the outside. But on the inside...(...) Yes, sadly your death will exonerate Wayne. But it will be worth it. Your blood shall christen this fair, woman. Your corruption and decay will spill down over this carnival as a warning to all your kind. Shall we begin? This may take quite some time..."
- ―Jack the Ripper to Selina Kyle after drugging her and revealing his true identity
Jack the Ripper is the main antagonist of the DC Elseworlds comic book story Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, and its animated film adaptation. He is a fictionalized version of the infamous real life serial killer of the same name, though his true identity differs between the comic and film versions. In both, however, he comes to Gotham City to continue his murders of prostitutes.
In the movie, Jack is first introduced violently murdering prostitute Pamella "Ivy" Isley. Later, he attempts to kill Selina Kyle when she goes after him with the intent of stopping him. However, he proves a more skilled fighter than she thought, nearly killing her before Batman arrives to engage him. Jack fights relatively evenly with Batman for a time, but soon gains the upper hand before Batman pulls a trap door lever, sending him plummeting.
Later, Jack murders Sister Leslie, and shortly after that confronts Doctor Hugo Strange in Arkham Asylum, killing him as well before having a prolonged chase with Batman that takes them to an air zeppelin. The two again fight to a standstill, the fight ending when the zeppelin gets shot down. The police pursue Batman, and Jack disappears. Shortly after, a woman who tried to extort Bruce Wayne for money to keep silent about her having seen him in the Church Graveyard when Sister Leslie was killed, is found dead. This time, Bruce Wayne appears the guilty party, and is arrested. Tried for murder, he's incarcerated, only to then escape from prison after Selina decides to tell Gordon he's Batman so that he'll be released (as Batman has an alibi for the Ripper murders).
Unfortunately, it comes to light that, in fact, James Gordon himself is Jack the Ripper, having gone mad after the Civil War and devolved into a deranged, delusional, misogynistic zealot out to purge Gotham City of all those he views as unfit to live, including not just "harlots" and prostitutes but also common criminals and even illiterates and immigrants. However, he sees prostitution as the source for most of it, blaming that it's destroying "good men" and that wives are "the worst prostitutes of all", as he had his wife's face burned and driven her insane. The motive that he's slaughtering prostitutes so violently is so that everyone can truly see their "hidden inside". Gordon mentions he was beaten as a child by nuns to stop him being left handed, which was seen as a bad sign during those times, but he still uses his left hand "for Jack's work."
Injecting Selina Kyle with a sedative, he tries to kill her in her drugged state, but Batman (having discovered on his own that James is the Ripper), follows him to the Gotham World's Fair and engages him once more. This time, Batman emerges the victor, handcuffing Gordon to a rail with his own cuffs. Refusing to let himself be taken alive, Gordon allows himself to be incinerated, laughing and screaming, ending the madness of Jack the Ripper.
Powers and Abilities
- Though Jack's true identity of Jacob Parker is not his identity in the film, Bruce's lawyer in the animated film does greatly resemble Parker (who also represented him as a lawyer in the comic proper). The identity of the real-life Jack the Ripper is still a mystery to this day.
- The movie version's background as a champion boxer brings to mind Professor Moriarty as he was in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, who likewise was a former boxing champion (thus explaining his combat skills). Given the deliberate similarities between Gaslight Batman and Sherlock Holmes, this similarity may not be coincidental.
- Ironically, the movie version's portrayal of James Gordon as a murderous psychopath is highly reminiscent of James Gordon's son in the comic books, James Gordon, Jr..
- In another ironic twist, his murdering Sister Leslie (the movie's equivalent to Doctor Leslie Tompkins), given that the two are romantically involved in the show Gotham.
- Gordon's dream of Jack the Ripper killing his wife takes on a new meaning when it is revealed he is Jack the Ripper, implying he desires to kill her as well.
- The film's portrayal of James Gordon being the Ripper shows quiet clearly his motive is raving misogyny.