Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book #48: Gotham Central 1-10

Gotham Central, Book 1: In the Line of Duty, by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, & Michael Lark. Paperback graphic novel, collecting issues 1-10.

What is it like to be a cop in a city that is protected by the Batman? The question has been asked before in mini-series, most successfully in the four-issue Batman: GCPD and the one-shot Gordon's Law, both from 1996. But this is first ongoing series to features these characters, running 40 issues from 2003 to 2006.

This series covers the Major Crimes Unit of the GCPD, led by Capt. Maggie Sawyer, formerly of the Metropolis Police Department. Major characters in these issues include Detectives Marcus Driver, Renee Montoya, Romy Chandler, and Crispus Allen. They all struggle to deal with the crime that the Batman doesn't handle, while trying to resist the temptation to ask him for help when they need it.

The title begins with Mister Freeze killing an officer, and the GCPD commits to finding the supervillain before the Batman does. The second story arc is a kidnapping and murder investigation, and is the most traditional police story in the volume.

The writing chores of the issues are divided in an interesting way. The teo authors are credited as co-writers for the first arc, covering issues 1 &2. Brubaker wrote the next 3-issue arc, while Rucka wrote the story covering issues 6-10. But there is little (if any) noticeable difference between the writing style in any of these issues. Both excel at the writing of detective stories. Despite the occassional appearnace of a supervillain or the Batman,

 The third arc is the most famous in the title's run, as it includes the "outing" of Renee Montoya as a lesbian. This story won two awards for its writing, as well as accolades from gay-rights organizations. The story was not nearly as heavy-handed as these stories can be, although most of the expected tropes (colleagues who mock, parents who disown) are present.

This volume was a throroughly enjoyable read, and I look forward to picking up more trades that continue the story.

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