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Recommendation of the Week:
writer: Greg Rucka
artists: Michael Lark and Gaudiano
this book has had a lot of critical acclaim. Despite low
sales, it manages to plod along because of its prestige.
Someone more cynical might say Gotham Central survives
because it's a concept just ripe to be plucked for a TV
series; like Birds of Prey, it offers a way to be
sort of about Batman without actually being about Batman
reading this issue, that television concept is a no-brainer.
Never mind that, though: you should be getting Gotham
Central because it's more than just a great concept
- it's a great book.
worry that it's already to the 23rd issue and you haven't
read any others. Rucka and his art team (sorry, they're
only listed by last names) provide an upfront police file
that gives new readers the gist of what has happened previously.
Even if you skip that, though, Rucka weaves a narrative
that gives you time to become acquainted with his main cops.
We get a little splash of their personalities, a conversation
that reveals a bit about their home lives and then…it's
off on a call.
being Gotham City, that call ends up involving what the
cops derisively call "…a freak." In this case, minor villain
The Black Spider is taking care of a little business with
a Gotham gang. Needless to say, it does not go well for
anybody involved. Yet most of the book focuses on the aftermath,
with paperwork, hospital visits and inter-office tension.
Gotham Central makes me miss Homicide: Life on
the Streets, because it reminds me so much of that really
superior cop show. (For the record, that's a good comparison,
not a bad one.)
Lark and Guadiano as the art team works really well. They're
not flashy, nor particularly gritty. But they do give the
book the work-a-day feeling that we are witnessing men and
women on the job. Other Bat-books have tried art like this
with mixed success; not all Batman stories fit well with
ordinary people. Take the Bat out, and focus on the guys
left cleaning it all up, or trying to keep from having to
turn on that signal, and their ordinariness becomes inspiring.
too, that Gotham Central does not tie in to "War
Games," the current crossover shaking up Gotham City. Maybe
Rucka will make a passing reference to it; certainly, his
guys are going to have to deal with the repercussions of
a gangland realignment. For now, though, they're on their
own, just trying to get through the day and if they're lucky,
see that justice is done, by the book.
none of that convinces you, try this one. Rucka and company
may be messing with our heads here, but there's a red-headed
M.E. lurking on the edges of this story named Corrigan.
And maybe you haven't heard, but in a couple of months,
there's this Wrath of God guy called The Spectre who will
be looking for a host once Hal Jordan becomes Green Lantern
again. Again, this could all be a fake-out, and certainly
this Corrigan does not behave as you might expect. If it's
a cheap trick to get superhero fans reading Gotham Central,
hey, you might as well fall for it. You'll still get a good
#819: Chuck Austen plays with his narrative structure
a bit to throw some light on Superman's relationship problems.
Sure, what he has Lana Lang suggesting flies in the face of
"accepted wisdom," but as the book goes along, you can't help
but wonder if, just maybe, she has a point. Just as the longer
Austen remains on Action Comics I can't help but wonder
if, just maybe, the guy is a good writer. And then he goes
and names the villain team "Sodom and Gomorrah."
#3: This book has made it to its third issue without
an arbitrary appearance from another member of the DCU.
Instead, it will be rather disappointing when the creative
team does put their Bloodhound up against a more established
character. This book is tough, with an intriguing protagonist,
and every issue makes me like it more.
#29: What?!? A major epic accomplished in only two issues?
Bill Willingham must be crazy. Not only does he finish spinning
this little side-story quickly, he provides a nice historical
note and acknowledgment that others had come up with similar
ideas and forced him to change things around. It's nice
to see a writer so strong he can admit to his weaknesses.
Once again: Nazis, werewolves and Frankenstein. Really,
how can you pass this up?
#7: Alas, though Forbush-Man sits on the cover, he does
not appear inside. But given how Slott has been able to
put fresh and sometimes silly spins on all sorts of concepts,
it now seems inevitable that She-Hulk will cross paths with
Not Brand Ecch. While Greg Pak gives us the new Warlock,
Jennifer slides into a team-up with the old Adam Warlock.
As always with this book, it's not what you might expect.
Pak finally makes his comics writing debut. Ostensibly
set a few years into the future and to the left of the regular
Marvel Universe, this makes for an intriguing revision of
the original Lee-Kirby creation. It's not enough for Warlock
to exist; Pak takes us through the thinking behind such
a character, and though he doesn't appear until the end,
the build-up is so well done that it's not a problem. Instead,
the setting is enough…for now.
Lord, Oh, Why?
#2: I didn't notice this in the first issue, perhaps
because of the spontaneous cataracts, but the pages are
reproduced directly from Rob Liefeld's pencils. At last,
naked Liefeld! Now with twice as many errors that a competent
inker might have cleaned up a bit! Tiny feet, many lines,
and everybody has a rectangular head. There's something
in there about a plot, too, but…really. You should be ashamed.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
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