- "Behind this wall is mankind's chance for survival. A glimpse at a future based on an amazing discovery. A discovery that will allow Gotham to rise like Lazarus, becoming a beacon of hope for this world. Are you intrigued? Then step closer. Witness the future of Gotham City. The heart of Gotham's future beats with Lazarus technology. The power of Lazarus is pumped into every street, every home, providing clean, safe energy. Mechanical Guardinans will serve you, watch over you and where necessary, protect you from the worst of mankind's sins. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow us to present to you the future...Wonder City!"
- ―Ra's al Ghul[src]
Wonder City (also identified as Old Gotham) is an abandoned city located below North Gotham City which houses one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits. It was an actual city while Ra's was developing his Lazarus Pit. Ra's eventually returned to Wonder City to replenish himself from the pit and planned the events that would take shape in Batman: Arkham City.
During the 19th century (around 200 years before the events of Arkham City), Ra's stopped in what soon became Gotham City (a crime ridden location even back then) and eventually an unknown Lazarus Pit beneath the ground with plans to purge all criminals. However, Ra's eventually stumbled upon something much more intriguing; Solomon Grundy also known as Cyrus Gold, who was murdered and dumped in the Slaughter Swamp near the outskirts of Gotham. It appeared that the beast was created as a product of the strange chemicals that were in the swamp and the storm that raged the very same night Cyrus was murdered. Ra's had Grundy captured and taken to his private medical chamber where he ruthlessly experimented on the monster to understand how he came back to life, well alive. Locating the chemicals that revived Grundy, Ra's realized that the substance had amazing properties and were capable of rejuvenating a person even in death. It would seem that the electricity from the lightning from the storm that same night amplified the chemicals and allowed Grundy to absorb it's abilities. Ra's would name this substance Lazarus. Ra's had plans to use it to not only keep himself alive for years, but to also use it as free, renewable energy for the people of Gotham. However, he feared that he would fall victim to the same fate as Grundy if precautions were not taken and, as a result, began to ruthlessly torture and electrify Grundy while exposing him to Lazarus every time he is killed to revive him. Studying the results every time Grundy is revived, Ra's would alter the nature of Lazarus to suit his needs and eventually made the substance pure; all that was needed was enough exposure to electricity to make the pit a fountain of youth.
Ra's next approached Gotham City Hall and negotiated with them to obtain the deed for the city itself. While the council members found Ra's negotiations amusing and ridiculous in nature, they soon took him seriously when he showed them more gold than have ever seen in their life from his old country. He was soon awarded the deed and immediately set to work, commissioning a new project to eradicate crime in Gotham, which was Wonder City. Importing slaves from his country, Ra's has them build this new city, brick by brick, while he developed robots from amazing technology way ahead of its time; they would be known as the Wonder City Mechanical Guardians. With the city completed, Ra's powered the foundations with the Lazarus chemical, making it a seemingly safe and renewable source of energy.
However, while the residents of Wonder City celebrated Ra's as a genius and a hero, Wonder City was actually a front to cover a violent and sinister conspiracy that was serving Ra's megalomaniac desires. Behind the scenes, hundreds of criminals and even potentially innocent individuals were captured and violently murdered by the Wonder City guardians. In the meantime, Ra's perfected the crown jewel of his city; Wonder Towerwhich rose over the entire city as a monument of prosperity, but was actually part of Ra's experiment to test the Lazarus Pit. Wonder Tower was actually a mechanism that connected to the Lazarus Pit through a complex network of pipes and attracted electricity during lightening storms, amplifying the chemicals of the Lazarus Pit and allowing Ra's to recover from any physical injury. Upon this amazing discovery about Lazarus, Ra's kept depending on the pit. As Ra's continued to perfect this process, he failed to realize that long-term exposure to the pit leads to destabilizing side effects; it was driving the citizens of Wonder City insane. Violence, crime, and riots erupted onto the streets in a maddened fashion the likes of which Gotham has never seen before. Ra's refused to admit that his actions have caused the biggest crime wave in Gotham's history and did little to nothing to save his own city, completely blinded by his obsession with the Lazarus Pit. When he failed to act, the newly instituted City Hall did and ordered for the police to shut down the city, take all the residents straight to Arkham Asylum to be treated, and arrest Ra's.
As the troops went throughout the city, arresting all residents, Ra's vanished and abandoned his once prime utopia. Wonder City was almost completely destroyed from the raid and was shut down, with the new Gotham City being constructed over it as the years went on. Solomon Grundy in the meantime was left broken, physically, emotionally, and mentally, from his continuous torture and hundreds of deaths at the hands of Ra's. When troops discovered the beast in Ra's medical chamber, he viciously murdered them all and waited in the chamber for Ra's to return to murder him again.
After Wonder City was shut down, Gotham City began to be built over it and the remains of Ra's al Ghul's former utopia were buried under the new city. The Cyrus Pinkney National History Museum would be built over the medical chamber containing Grundy and the Monarch Theatre would be built over the Lazarus Pit.
Batman: Arkham City
Centuries later, Ra's al Ghul returned to Gotham and developed a plan to finally purge the city of its criminals. Using Hugo Strange and Quincy Sharp, Ra's had the Gotham City Council approve of the creation of Arkham City; a massive super prison where criminals would be permanently isolated from the rest of Gotham. In relaity, Ra's and Strange plotted not to keep the residents of Arkham City imprisoned forever but rather to destroy the city and kill all the inmates once most of Gotham's criminals had been rounded up.
Strange constructed his base of operations for this plot, dubbed "Protocol 10", in Wonder Tower and operated the entire city from his control room in the tower's observation deck.
During the events of Arkham City, Batman has had to go to Wonder City, after finding a signal from one of Talia's guards in the museum. Because of his failing health (due to a poisoned disease from Joker), Batman went through the Demon Trials before figuring out Ra's plans for Arkham. Batman discovers Ra's and Strange's plans after being imprisoned in Arkham City and decides to stop them. Strange manages to initiate Protocol 10 (which involved killing all the criminals and political prisoners of Arkham City with missile strikes launched from Wonder Tower and TYGER helicopters) but he is thwarted when Batman infiltrates Wonder Tower and provides his helper, Oracle, with a link to wirelessly call off the missile strikes. Seeing his plan has failed, Ra's reveals himself to Batman as the mastermind behind Arkham City and kills Strange for failing him by stabbing him in the back with his sword. A dying Strange proceeds to activate Protocol 11, which causes Wonder Tower to self-destruct. Both Batman and Ra's survive the explosion, but Ra's accidentally kills himself afterwards while trying to stab Batman with his sword in mid fall. The self-destruction of Wonder Tower leaves the ruined remains of Wonder City even more ruined and large portions of the city are buried under the rubble, forever shut off from the rest of the world.
Areas within Wonder City
- Collapsed Streets
- Wonder Tower Foundations
- Wonder Avenue
- Grimberg's Occult Store
- Muftic Barbershop
- Underhill & Davies Books
- The Tea Hut
- Wonder City Jewelry
- Billingham Butchers
- Adamson & Stjernberg Drugstore
- Furniture Store
- Fruit & Vegetables
- Cloney Cobblers
- Wonder City Textile Manufacturing
- Crazy Clown Toys & Dolls
- Royal Flush Tobacco
- Wine & Spirit
- Secret Corridor
- Chamber of the Demon
- Wonder Tower
- Observation Deck
- The Wonder City Mechanical Guardians got deactivated by Batman, after he scanned them to find the tracker's signal for Talia's guard. They eventually got reactivated by Harley Quinn during Harley Quinn's Revenge as she uses them to try to kill Batman.