Gotham Central V3 Unresolved Targets Joker Greg Rucka 1st print Ed Brubaker Lark


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Gotham Central Vol. 3: Unresolved Targets (Batman) Paperback
by Greg Rucka (Author), Ed Brubaker (Author), Michael Lark (Author), Stefano Gaudiano (Author)

Living in the shadow of the Dark Knight makes the detectives of Gotham’s police force determined to prove they have what it takes to enforce the law in a city rife with criminals–with or without Batman’s help.

The Joker terrorizes the city at Christmastime by randomly executing people, and no one from the mayor on down is safe! The manhunt is on as the police try to protect the city, only to be baffled when the Clown Prince of Crime surrenders. What does he really want, and can the GCPD figure it out before he gets it?

A second story focuses on an old case and unfinished business for disgraced detective Harvey Bullock.

Collects GOTHAM CENTRAL #12-15 and #19-22!

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: DC Comics

Alan Moore’s Watchmen inspired a vogue for comic books that placed gaudily garbed superheroes in more true-to-life, real-world settings. Many similar series, such as Astro City, have been widely acclaimed, but one of the best has gone largely unheralded. Gotham Central focuses on Gotham City’s police and their struggle to maintain order in a flagrantly corrupt burg beset by bizarre, costumed criminals. Batman himself, whom the cops mockingly call the Bat, makes only fleeting cameos as GC detectives contend with his superpowered foes. In the installments collected here, the Joker terrorizes with sniper attacks, beginning with the assassination of the mayor, and the force reopens an unresolved bombing involving the Mad Hatter and, disgraced ex-detective Harvey Bullock suspects, the Penguin. Obvious analogues to Gotham Central are such TV procedurals as Law and Order and Homicide. Like them, Gotham Central boasts superficial verisimilitude, hard-edged dialogue, and a large cast of precisely drawn characters. Michael Lark’s shadowy, muted art, enhanced by sympathetic coloring, brilliantly realizes writers Brubaker and Greg Rucka’s intricate, compelling storylines.

There’s something so right about the concept of a police procedural series set in Gotham City. The idea of ordinary people doing the best they can in a world populated with superheroes and villains is an appealing one.

First, a series of sniper killings proves to be the work of the Joker, but just where is Batman when you need him? High point of the story for me was the Joker short circuiting expectations by surrendering and then having enormous fun in the interrogation room while the police race against the clock to figure out his scheme.

But I liked the second story with the Mad Hatter even better. The pieces of the mystery come together nicely and we learn more about the fate of Harvey Bullock. Brubaker and Rucka have a finely tuned sense of just when to play up the traditional comic book elements and when to dial back to keep the focus on the members of the Major Crimes Unit. All comics should be this good. Recommended!

Collects GOTHAM CENTRAL #12-15 and #19-22! Near mint, 1st print