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This final volume of Gotham Central was a hell of a ride. I read graphic novels slow, and it took me about a month to go through the whole story. When it was over there was quite a big void and I realized how much joy I got reading through it each day. I am sure there are those that have read much more trades than I have and have a larger sample size, but for me this is best I have read.
My only issue with the book is that I would have liked to have seen some more development in the other sets of partners in the MCU(Major Crimes Unit). Outside of the main 2 sets that were featured, Jackson Davies and Nelson Crowe would have been great to flesh out for instance. Their constant 'debates' would have made for an awesome team to delve into deeper.
Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka's writing on this series is top tier. The art, though not very detailed and going through 3 different artists or so, fits perfectly. The artists used a very 'gritty', noirish style which fits Gotham and the urban jungle that it is.
If you are on the fence purchase this series. Any fan of crime and noir with a little sprinkling in of the 'freaks' will not be disappointed.
As I've mentioned in other reviews of Gotham Central, the book has received near-universal praise and, frankly, I think it deserves all of it. However, this book volume is typically treated as being a step back from the best stories in the series, but even if it is, that would still make it better than 90% of comics out there. So, short review: Must Buy. Longer discussion below.
The stand alone story at the beginning takes a different approach than the rest of the books, telling the story of two corrupt cops who aren't actually involved with MCU. Some of the regular Gotham Central characters make appearances (particularly Corrigan) but it's focused on these new characters. Essentially, where Gotham Central is about the cops one step removed from Batman, this story is about the cops one step removed from them. It's an interesting story and has a pretty great pay-off.
Then there's the dead Robin story, which I particularly enjoyed. It captures a lot of what makes this series special. In fact, the story I could have really skipped was the issue that takes place during Infinite Crisis. Now, depending on how you feel about Infinite Crisis, you may enjoy the issue more than I did (aside: I thought Infinite Crisis was pretty much a mess), but it really jumps away from the tone that I enjoyed in the series.
Finally, there's the volume's namesake arc: Corrigan. This is where the book tails off in my opinion but, again, still better than almost 90% of the books out there. I can't recommend this series highly enough.
I'm honestly livid with myself for not picking this series up sooner. The art style perfectly compliments the grim and gritty reality of Gotham, yet still manages to capture the high-flying spectacle of the super-heroics that make the DC universe great.
The pacing of each story is never too slow or too fast, the characters are relate able and engaging, and the stories told within this volume are truly astonishing. The ending, in particular, was truly bittersweet, and not just because of the somber final chapter, bu because it was just that: the final chapter.
All in all, I would highly recommend this book for any fan of comics or crime-dramas. Aces all the way!
If there is one problem with Gotham Central, it's that it had to end here. While the story arcs in this final volume are good, they just don't feel like a satisfying finale. But let's talk about the good things.
The fourth volume delivers in pretty much every genre. The first one-shot issue featuring a few beat cops for horror, the Dead Robin investigation for mystery and humor, and Corrigan itself for tragedy. Really, there is something here for everyone.
If you haven't already, go pick up volume 1, and I'll be here when you get back.
A Batman comic with no Batman seemed impossible to enjoy, but these Gotham stories are incredible. The depth and characterization of the officers turns them into people you care about as you get to know over the series. Batman makes a few cameos which worked nicely in the series. Amazon only goes up to 5 stars, so I couldn't click a 6th one. A must read!
Are you into Batman enough that you are interested in the world of Batman and also its peripheral characters? Batman of course lives in Gotham City, a city that resembles a lot to New York City. In this graphic novel (comic) volume Batman moves away from center stage so Gotham City’s police department’s Major Crimes Unit can take the limelight and focus for the readers. DC Comics got a good team of artists and writers for this Gotham Central series and book four is no different. The last few DC comics I read made me appreciate how this book unfolded the narrative. With some of the recent Batman comics in the Rebirth series I didn’t appreciate how fragmented various Batman issues were when you go from one issue to the next consecutively; there were a lot of issues that felt like fillers. But here in this volume even when there’s another short story there was a sense of continuity and it wasn’t just done to get issues sold for bare bottom line; there’s an actual good story and exploration of the characters and the characteristics of Gotham! For instance the book begins with a story called “Nature” and while the second story was something else (it was about an alleged dead Robin) still we see its interconnected with the detectives determination to solve crime mysteries and also get down to the details to pursue justice. The biggest portion of this book was related to the “Dead Robin” story which is on pages 33-126. But what I felt was the uniting theme in this volume is the reality of police corruption, the difficulty of policing and police work such as solving homicide and the curve ball of trying to aim for a good outcome but the challenges of navigating with all kinds of challenges. Unlike the other volumes there’s less exploration of the detectives’ domestic and personal life; but it builds on that from previous volumes in order to see how it affects these men and women serving as law enforcement with increasing challenges from evil doers and criminals. The person strain reaches a critical point for detectives like Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya. The questions with these two detectives in their inner monologues that the readers get to read makes one wonder along with these characters of whether all that they do with the costs in their own personal life is worth it. I’m reading this in 2020 and I think in some ways it is relevant: For the men and women of law enforcement, I’m talking about the rank and file officers who are trying to do the right thing, what is the costs and tipping point where they say enough is enough and they quit? What is the toll for them in terms of their family, their relations with others and also the trauma they’ve endured? The book heads towards a conclusion that left me thinking a lot these things. This issue perhaps more than the other three previous volume, felt the most human in showing the human side of policing. There’s officers getting annoyed with bad police officers, detectives trying not to have their personal side affect their professionalism and also a whole group of officers on the move to stop another murder from happening and detectives revisiting old cases because they want to get things get made right. Kudos to the team that produces this incredible work.
Yeah, there's an awesome Batman cover but don't expect this to be Batman's ultimate, grand appearance in Gotham Central; it is still all about Gotham PD and its disappointing conclusion won't detract from just how good this series has been.
Without disclosing too much info, there is a one-shot story told from a corrupt cop's point of view, a mystery about boys dying in Robin costumes, another one-shot tying into Infinite Crisis, and the closing story revisiting Jim Corrigan. All that is expected from the series is present: intriguing plots, spot-on writing, compelling characterization, and awesome art (aside from the Teen Titans' appearance because they don't translate well to this gritty style but that's a minor hiccup).
I've read other reviews where the series' conclusion was praised but I would strongly disagree. The last story arc is incredible: it's captivating and emotionally pulls you in but this momentum is exactly why the finale feels all the more unsatisfactory. It's one of those eyebrow raising endings that left me thinking, "...that's it?!?". Now I understand there may have been bigger forces at DC at the time that pushed the series to prematurely end but a ride this great deserved a much superior send-off.
Gotham Central has been enjoyable from the get-go and of course, if you own the previous three volumes, pick this one up. I can only knock down one star from the rating because the entire series has been so fun but I cannot deny the sour taste left in mouth upon finishing this trade.
The whole run of Gotham Central is terrific and highly recommended - a sort of Law & Order CI meets Batman, only with fairly little Batman. This is a crime series much more than a Superhero series, and the better for it. The characters are well-drawn (literally and figuratively) and engaging. The plots are deft and intriguing.
This is the final volume of the run and pretty much holds up the quality of the preceding three volumes. I don't know enough about the behind the scenes of this series, but there is a sense here in which the end came quicker than Ruka and Brubaker expected and they had to wrap it up in a hurry. Still, this is high quality stuff. Only the Infinite Crisis tie-in story seems a bit forced.
Start at the beginning. You'll eventually get to this one. It was a great run.