GOTHAM CENTRAL – the Trade PaperBack collection

GOTHAM CENTRAL volume 1 tpb GOTHAM CENTRAL volume 2 tpb GOTHAM CENTRAL volume 3 tpb GOTHAM CENTRAL volume 4 tpb GOTHAM CENTRAL volume 5 tpb

GOTHAM CENTRAL – Vol.1 – IN THE LINE OF DUTY tpb (Issues 1 to 5) – Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, has two story arc cases for the Gotham Central Police Department to investigate, which actually resolved the overall 3rd story arc of the entire tpb. Pure detective investigating, with limited contact to the “superhero” world, though the GCPD do cross paths with Mister Freeze. 8 out of 10.

GOTHAM CENTRAL – Vol.2 – HALF A LIFE tpb (Batman Chronicles 16, Detective Comics 747, issues 6 to 10) – This is a total Renee Montoya tpb, beginning with two back story episodes from Batman Chronicles and Detective Comics, which detail her unusual friendship with the villain Two-Face, aka Harvey Dent. The main Gotham Central storyline itself deals directly with Montoya, as she has to defend herself from a murder she has been framed for, while dealing with aspects of her private life becoming public. 8 out of 10

GOTHAM CENTRAL Vol.3 “Unresolved Targets” tpb. Containing #12-15, 19-22. The first story arc deals with The Joker, and the second arc is a Mad Hatter story (with a cameo by the Penguin). It’s all very solid with story, script and art, and I love the color scheme that is used (entire pages tends to be either all blues, all reds or all browns). I was a little disappointed that Renee Montoya is rarely seen, but I guess there is over 20 characters to focus on at the Gotham Central Police Department, and this ain’t The Montoya Chronicles. 7 out of 10.

GOTHAM CENTRAL vol.4 “The Quick and the Dead” tpb. Containing issues 23-25, 28-31. All issues completely written by Greg Rucka (as co-writer Ed Brubaker probably more consumed with doing Captain America at Marvel).
The first 2 issues is an interesting story about gang violence in Gotham, with a subplot of corruption within the GCPD (ie: tampered evidence), which seemed to have an incomplete ending.
Issue 25 is a one-shot story, as the GCPD no longer trust Batman, and decide to take down the “bat signal”.
The tpb concludes with the 4-part “Keystone Kops” story, which focuses on the Flash’s enemy – Doctor Alchemy.
All these issues feature a lot more of Renee Montoya, and that’s a good thing, as she is the most interesting character.
The artwork by Michael Lark and Stefano Guadiano is quite interesting, as they tend to draw all characters as ugly, which doesn’t make them unlikeable, just more real, I guess. 7 out of 10.

GOTHAM CENTRAL vol.5 “Dead Robin” tpb – Containing issues 33 to 40.
It begins with a 4-part story, whereby teen boys dressed as Robin begin appearing around Gotham. Not such a great detective story, but some interesting cameos by Batman and the Teen Titans provides some interest.
Issue 37 is a cross-over with the Infinite Crisis event, and is most definitely one of the most stunning issues of the entire series. Superbly written.
The final 3 issues tie up the corruption storyline left hanging (as mentioned, from the previous tpb) and conclude the series. With her partner dead, and no justice in sight, Renee Montoya quits the GCPD and walks into the pages of 52… searching for answers to her Question! 😉 8 out of 10.

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