This is it. The last volume of Gotham Central. It’s been an amazing ride. Masterfully written and illustrated all the way through (even though I prefer Michael Lark’s pencils to this book with Kano’s). Coming from someone who isn’t big into the crime or mystery/suspense genre, it says a lot that this is one of my favourite series so of all time.
The first arc is about a bunch of “Robins” that are found dead around the city. It’s really interesting and the Teen Titans drop into the GCPD to be questioned by the detectives. One scene in particular had me laughing so hard I took pictures of the panels and sent them to a couple of friends. Gosh, I love Maggie Sawyer and Renee Montoya! There are also some legitimately creepy moments in this one that really amp up the suspense.
In the second arc, the story focuses more on the mess that Renee’s becoming and Cris working solo to make a case against Corrigan (the CSI guy who sells evidence to the highest bidder). Meanwhile, there’s this uncomfortable feeling in the back of your mind. At some point, you hit that moment. The one where you realize everything’s spiraling down and things are moving too fast for there to be a happy ending. That feeling of dread and anxiety, that concern for the characters… A lot happens very fast, and the art reflects the moods exceptionally. It all ends with a final look at Renee, and the words: “I’m done”.
Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker have written an incredible set of stories in Gotham Central. With the understated but perfectly tuned artwork of Michael Lark, Kano, Stefano Gaudiano, and Lee Loughridge to build life around the words. I can’t adequately describe the way it’s made me stop and think, the way it’s made me feel for its characters, the way it’s kept me in suspense, and the way it’s surprised me. I applaud its social awareness that stands unmatched even now, more than ten years later. With its ensemble cast who are first and foremost dynamic and complex characters, it’s not just a “cop” series. It’s a series that sends a message about the world around us; it’s about inequality, prejudice, and discrimination; about greed, the desire for significance and power; about anger, revenge, and how much of your humanity and morality you’re willing to sacrifice for it; it’s about survival, protection, truth, fear, bravery. At its core, Gotham Central is about the human heart, with all its qualities and flaws. Gotham Central is one of a kind.