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Gotham Central, Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty…

Gotham Central, Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty

by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker (Author), Michael Lark (Illustrator)

Other authors: Lawrence Block (Introduction)

Series: Gotham Central (1-5)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
With the new TV series Gotham currently being cast there has been a bit of buzz around what the storyline is going to be about. Unfortunately it is not going to be based upon this excellent series by Brubaker and Rucka. This would actually be a great way to do a non-Batman series, especially as it would be able to use the recent Nolan films as a lead in.

I guess people who read will be the only ones to appreciate a series focussed on Gotham city police trying to work in the shadow of Batman. ( )
  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Very good comic. That's what I'll tell anyone who asks about this book. The story and dialogue all flow nicely. You don't need to have any knowledge of the characters in the story. It's still very enjoyable. I look forward to reading the next volume. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | May 22, 2015 |
One of the best of the graphic novels I read thus far, the mix of mundane police business with over the top comic book villains was both entertaining and human. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Been planning to read this series straight through, starting with the couple of volumes I already had read. I am, just to cut to the chase, sad this series didn't catch on. To me, it is one of the best Batman series, if not the best Batman series, since Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. It is Gotham as seen from the point of view of cops, and not just cops, but very much the sort of cops we recognize from TV serials. And that's a compliment. This is as engaging as the best cop dramas -- from NYPD Blue to The Shield -- and the way it employs Batman is truer to the character than most contemporary renderings. Most Batman comics make much of how remote a figure Batman is, yet keep him front and center -- they try to have it both ways, and fail at both. Gotham Central treats him as a truly unusual presence. Issues go by during which he isn't even seen, and the cops, embarrassed that they depend on him to solve the tough cases, do their best not to mention him. Brubaker and Rucka are very different writers, yet they seem so sold, themselves, on the series' unique conceit that their tales really do meld together, much as TV series like Lost and The Wire have managed to have known writers on board who, despite their seasoned voices, put ego aside and serve the overarching story.
  Disquiet | Mar 30, 2013 |
Gotham Central is about the cops who make up the Gotham City Police Department, specifically the ones in the Major Crimes Unit, the group personally selected by (ex-)Commissioner Gordon to handle the most difficult of crimes. They're also the cops Gordon trusted the most, the ones he knew wasn't corrupt. The stories are entirely told through their point of view-- Batman is in these stories, but only as much as the police see him.

The first story in In the Line of Duty has two cops, Driver and Fields, following up leads on the disappearance of a teenage girl when they accidentally bump into Mr. Freeze. Freeze kills Fields and runs off, leaving the police scrambling to figure out where Freeze is and what he's planning next. They know that summoning Batman is their best shot of finding the killer-- but they also know that once they do, it'll be the Batman who avenges the death of one of their own, not themselves. So they set themselves a deadline: figure out what Freeze's plan is before nightfall, when they can turn on the Bat-signal and hand the case over. What unfolds after that is a pretty typical "police procedural" like you might see on any number of television shows, as the police follow up leads by talking to known accomplices, hunting down people who might have sold Freeze the diamonds that power his technology, and so on. There's this nice device of a clock in the corner of the panels, telling you that they're running out of time. Lucky for them, they get a break just in time...

There's a touch that I like here-- since the official stance of the G.C.P.D. is that the Batman doesn't exist and the light is for deterring criminals, they can't activate the Bat-Signal themselves, legally. As a result, it's the office temp who activates the signal, as she's not a city employee. As they wait, Commissioner Akins asks Driver, "So you're okay with this then?" and he answers, "No... but I'm a cop in Gotham. I can't afford to live in denial." And even though the Batman wins the day against Freeze for them, you can't help but feeling that they've lost something in having to call the Batman in. The only thing I don't like about the story is that the cops' conclusion requires Freeze to have given them a cryptic clue at the beginning of the story, but I don't get why he'd do that-- he's not the Riddler or even the Joker.

The second story in the book, "Motive," also features Marcus Driver, this time working with Romy Chandler to follow up the kidnap case from the previous story. Though there's an appearance by the super-villain "Firebug" in this story, and some fun stuff about people who collect super-villain paraphernalia, it's essentially a normal cop story. Again, the resolution is weak because it depends on a leap of logic that seemed unfounded, but essentially it's a character story for Driver as he tries to come to terms with what it means to be a cop in Gotham. I used to make fun of the idea of the Gotham police-- why do they even bother?-- but these stories show them as people trying their best in a really messed up world, and I like that. The best bit of this story is the end, where Driver flicks on the Bat-Signal just to tell Batman they solved the case without them. Because sometimes they can do it.

The art by Michael Lark is great-- sort of sketchy, like you imagine the world that the G.C.P.D inhabits would look. Unfortunately, this backfires sometimes, as some of the white guy cops blend in to one another. But between his linework and Noelle Giddings's moody, suppressed colors, the art is absolute perfect for the bleak, despairing tone of this series.

Gotham Central: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Dec 14, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Ruckaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brubaker, EdAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lark, MichaelIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Block, LawrenceIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This is a trade paperback compilation of issues #1-5 of Gotham Central, not to be confused (though it would be understandable if you did) with the later hardcover collection of the same name (see what I mean?) that collected issues #1-10.
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"Renee Montoya is implicated in a murder and her deepest secret is revealed. She must track down the one man who can prove her innocence and put him behind bars before he can destroy Gotham City. Presented in graphic noval form."

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