Title: Gotham Central.
Story Arc: In the Line of Duty.
Writer(s): Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka.
Artist(s): Michael Lark.
Colourist(s): Noelle Giddings, Matt Hollingsworth & Lee Loughridge.
Letterer(s): Willie Schubert.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: March 15th 2011.
Genre(s): Comics, Mystery.
My Overall Rating:
Where there can be crime, there can also be law and justice. The relentless battle to establish an unobtrusive balance between both is an age-old conflict that has yet to be seen in many societies, often raising questions on the nature of the synergy. For Gotham City, crime, corruption, and power have never been properly managed by the elites. It has led its people to live in an environment prone to danger and to pursue a life filled with fear and anxiety. But even in the worse corners of the city, even amidst the dangerous crooks that have challenged Batman to the brink of death, there lie good-intentioned cops who would do anything for their city. With an introduction by Lawrence Block, critically-acclaimed writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka team up with artist Michael Lark to deliver the multiple award-winning series Gotham Central. This first volume collects the first ten issues and covers the “In the Line of Duty“, “Motive“, and “Half a Life” story arcs.
What is Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty? While Batman wages on his one-man war against crime, the law enforcers of the Gotham City Police Department work around the clock to protect their city from overflooding with crime committed by some of the most insane and homicidal criminals. Unfortunately, many of the cops don’t see eye-to-eye with the Dark Knight’s ways but it doesn’t stop them from serving justice the good old-fashioned way. With one of their recent partners falling to Mister Freeze, Gotham’s Finest finds themselves rushing to uncover a larger plan at play. The Major Crime Unit also has their hands full when they find themselves looking into an unsolved case that ties in with supervillain Firebug. But things don’t get any more complicated when Police Detective Renee Montoya also finds herself at the heart of a complex case that unravels her own personal life and sends her career straight to the sewers. The question she now faces leads to a traitorous whodunit: Who could be behind her frail situation?
“It’s a one-way door, detective. Once the closet is open, it doesn’t shut again. What you do next, you get to live with it for the rest of your life.”— Greg Rucka
How could I ever say no to the idea behind this series? It is everything I could ask for. The Wire in the form of a comic book series and set within Batman’s kingdom. And you got writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka working together with artist Michael Lark on it too? What more could one possibly ask for? What they achieve together is a formidable, episodic, and gritty noir fiction that fully embraces crime and mystery through grim and somber story-telling and character development. Through the former, the stories establish the GCPD in a down-to-earth reality that takes into consideration the existence of Batman’s war on crime without, however, allowing his adventures to affect their own individual day-to-day routine. Through the latter, this series explores the complex relationships they all have with one another while they struggle with their own personal issues, allowing readers to look into their coping mechanisms and their stress management skills.
Artist Michael Lark also fully participates in the success of this series with his impeccable artwork reminiscent of artist Sean Phillips’ own style. The grim qualities of his art brilliantly capture the tense atmosphere, often accentuating the darker emotions that are almost taken for granted because of the nature of these cops’ work and their tendency to live in bleak and terrifying conditions. Add in the perfectly adequate colouring accomplished by Noelle Giddings, Matt Hollingsworth, and Lee Loughridge, and you’ve got yourself a dark, sinister, and highly immersive world that sticks to its noir fiction premise and allows these usually-inconsequential characters to be front-and-center in crime-fighting duties on top of showcasing their human facets, whether it’s their most vulnerable selves or their most vice-hungry personas.
Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty is an outstanding crime procedural with noir overtones that explores the daily struggles of Gotham’s Finest amidst Batman’s crusade against ruthless criminals.