Pick of the Week

February 1, 2006 – Gotham Central #40

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Story by Greg Rucka
Art by Kano
Inks by Stefano Gaudiano
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Clem Robbins

Published by DC Comics | $2.50

And so it ends.

As much as I didn’t want to double up on a Pick, and as sick as I’m sure some people are of hearing Josh and I sing this book’s praises, this moment is too important to sweep under the rug.

Someone’s got to respect the run, and that someone is me.

When this comic book was first announced I was intrigued. Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker are two writers I admire and the idea that they would alternate story arcs that followed both the day and night shift of Gotham P.D.’s Major Crimes Unit sounded promising, especially for a crime fiction/cop show junkie like me. And let’s face it, if any fictional comic book city is ripe for gritty cop stories, it’s Gotham City. I was interested and hopeful. But who knew it would be this good?

A lot of people ask why I like this book so much, why I think it has been so good. A good portion of what makes Gotham Central so good is that the writers took their strong understanding of episodic police dramas and blended it seamlessly with comic book storytelling and the characters of the Gotham police department. The first few story arcs really felt like I was reading episodes of Homicide. And if you’ve ever seen Homicide, then you know that’s some good readin’. Something else that the writers pulled off beautifully was the portrayal of the frustration within a police force overshadowed in the mind of the public by a big scary man in a cape and cowl. It’s a feeling that simmered among the detectives throughout the entire run, bubbling up and boiling over in wonderfully entertaining ways. And if all of that weren’t enough, they still found time to tackle complex issues like the pressures of being in the closet and hiding who you really are from your fellow police. This comic book succeeded on so many levels: as a crime book, as a mystery book, as a personal relationship book, and (once in a blue moon) as a superhero book.

Gotham Central has been a fantastic book that has exceeded all of my expectations.

So why didn’t it succeed? Why didn’t it sell better? To be quite honest, I’m surprised that it lasted as long as it did. In this sense, Gotham Central is again comparable to Homicide. That show was constantly praised by critics and seemingly always under the cancelation gun yet somehow lasted seven seasons on the air. The same could be said for Gotham Central, and in this accelerated comic market that we find ourselves in now, 40 issues is almost as long as seven seasons on TV.

As for this issue itself, we are left with the end of a storyline and the end of a series that is maddeningly without resolution. Will Jim Corrigan be brought to justice? Has Renee Montoya really quit the force? We won’t find out in these pages, but something tells me that we’ll get these answers eventually, somewhere. For a comic book that dealt so squarely in gray areas, an unresolved ending seems fitting. In life, as in Gotham Central, sometimes there are no easy answers.

For those of you sick of hearing about Gotham Central, this is a happy day for you. For the rest of us (me… Josh… anyone else?), we lament the loss of another quality comic book. A book whose loss leaves the comic book rack with a big gaping hole of good to fill.

Conor Kilpatrick
See ya, old buddy
conor@ifanboy.com

Did you read Gotham Central #40? Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!

Comments

  1. I also really liked Gotham Central. I enjoyed this book a gread deal, for many of the reasons Conor mentioned.

    For those who may not know, former Detective Renee Montoya is one of the six major characters in the post-Infinite Crisis maxiseries 52. She joins The Question, Black Adam, Booster Gold, Elongated Man, and Steel (John Henry Irons, not his daughter Natasha) as the focal characters in this story.

    I really liked the penultimate scene in the book, right before Montoya quit. (Oh, I hope this isn’t considered a spoiler, as it is represented on the cover.) I think her decision there really helped cement her character, and I’m going to be really interested to see how her character develops during 52.

  2. I know nothing about Montoya’s involvement in 52. I’ve heard rumblings that she would play a major role, but I’ve left it at that. I am going to try my best to be surprised by what happens in the OYL and 52 events. I’ve already learned too much as it is.

    I’m intrigued, though. Definitely intrigued.

  3. isn’t there a book titled “Montoya” thats coming out as part of the 52 stuff? I thought I saw that somewhere…

  4. mediablackoutmediablackoutmediablackout
    mediablackoutmediablackoutmediablackout
    mediablackoutmediablackoutmediablackout

  5. As per Montoya’s 52 role, I saw the first cover for the first ’52’, and sure enough, Montoya is prominently featured.

  6. Got a link?

  7. http://www.newsarama.com/dcnew/52/52Cv1.jpg

    Right there, from right to left: Montoya, Booster Gold, The Question (Kinda outta left field, eh?), Who I can only ASSUME is Ralph Dibny, the Elongated man, and Steel (John Henry)

  8. I started reading the first Gotham central trade on saturday and It was really good. I hope they atleast trade the entire series so the latecomers can read it. I am a Wizard buyer and I have been since the 90’s. I like the internet but nothing beats the written word on paper. I enjoy reading comic news on the train and at home at my liesure. I do have my problems with the silliness but until you make a better comicbook magazine that features mainstream comics then Make Mine Wizard.

    P.S. Stop the dc bashing they make good comics just like marvel makes good comics.Great show fellows.

  9. I’m not sure where you get that we DC bash. DC is 80-90% of my weekly purchases. There are specific books that DC puts out that we don’t like and that we mention often (Green Lantern), but other than that, it’s hard to talk a lot about DC at the moment because the whole universe is in such flux untill next month when One Year Later starts.

  10. I, on the other hand might DC bash, but I almost certainly bash marvel more. But I can’t think of any specific examples. I can tell you that I used to buy a whole lot of great DC books, and I don’t anymore, because there aren’t as many I like. I am going to by the new Ron Marz Ion though, because I love Kyle! And I was a big fan of the way Marz wrote him.

  11. There’s certainly no DC bashing going on. Isn’t this a recuring theme, where everyone thinks you bash something? (Aka Non-Superhero books, DC)

    Anyway, I used to be a total Marvel Zombie. But nowadays, I’m really more into DC. DC has such a long history, and interesting characters. I’m going to be picking up 52, Ion (Kyle, likewise, is also my favorite GL.) and the new ‘Flash’ series.

    WALLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYY

  12. Bashing is a strong word. How about highly critical?

  13. Possibly. But if I’m being highly critical of DC books it is because I expect a higher standard from them. I, ulitmatly, don’t really care as much if Marvel books aren’t as good. Not as much as I do about DC books.

  14. I like what dc is doing and I look forward to the upcoming changes. I love JSA and Firestorm and Batman. And now we have the writer of Star man doing a batman story. Infinite Crisis has been great and Im excited to go the comicbook shop.

  15. Well… I can’t find JLA anywhere and the only INvincible that my comic shop had has the hardback volume one, which I did not feel like spending my money on at this point in time, so I bought… some more mrvel stuff. I had to catch up on the Pulse and I heard that Wolverine vs. Hulk was fun. So inconclusoin, my secret identity has been put into the open and I almost read a book that wasn’t Marvel all in the same day. I guess I will have to go by a new secret identity now. Just you wait

  16. I loved Starman. But the guy who wrote that also wrote the screenplay for League of Extraordinary Gentleman, so it can go either way I guess.

    bonus trivia: James Robinson also gave Joe Casey his start in the business by referring him to Marvel, because they went to the same comic shop. Dreams can come true.

  17. James Robinson also wrote and directed a totally self-loathing movie called Comic Book Villains. It was AWFUL.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0287969/

    He writes great comics, though.

  18. Oh, crap.

    I think I just accidentally read something that I infer to be a major Montoya spoiler.

    Dern.

  19. are we talking big spoiler, like what the twist is, or is it just in the plot of the book, which reveals what happened after this GC issue?

    My guess, and it’s just that, is that he plot of her next book tells us that she rejoins the force or something like that.

    That’s a shitty guess.

  20. Yeah…. um, I don’t want to say. It has to do mostly with the rumored title of her book and what that means. It’s best we don’t say any more.

  21. Did Josh just say ‘AIGHT?’
    After Connor said the thing about it tonally stradling a line or whatever?

  22. I can’t imagine I said that. I’m not saying I didn’t, but it would be quite out of character. Maybe I said that when I was like 14 for a week or so. That would have been the week after the one where I thought it would be cool to be like Parker Lewis, and say “coolness.”

  23. On ITunes I have IFanboy followed by Joe Krown’s ‘Maple Leaf Rag.’ I really gotta say that IFanboy and ragtime make a perfect match. Like peanut butter and jelly.

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