Gotham Central: Unresolved Targets

July 14, 2008

Gotham Central is a title that grows old very quickly. This volume may be carrying only its 4th and 5th main plot-lines in the trade paperback edition, but it reads like the series has been around forever. A sense of both the familiar and continuity has set in, so much so that you can feel where the compilers have been cutting out short tales between arcs for no reason other than that they can. Don’t think that we can’t tell and don’t care, DC!

The 2 stories featured here are big ones: “Soft Targets”, starring you-know-who, is one that must come sooner or later. It’s Christmas-time in the city, but, as the Joker is no Santa Claus, his idea of being on the rooftop involves spreading random holiday horror with a sniper rifle. Beginning with no less than Gotham’s mayor, the clown shoots his way into a grand mad plan of herding the masses to exactly where he wants them to be. You don’t need Batman to tell you that his quota for intended casualties runs in the hundreds.

The 2nd story, “Unresolved”, brings back that lovable (to me) controversial perennially drunk on-off in-out hard ex-police officer, Harvey Bullock. In his attempt to solve a cold case from his past concerning a roomful of blown-up school jocks, Bullock barks up the wrong tree and goes on biting and beating too. The real murderer using the Mad Hatter to kill will come as a surprise for all of 5 seconds, before that voice of reason in your head tells you that this hits closer home, if that’s still your voice you’re hearing.

Ed Brubaker’s solo attempt with the latter story doesn’t quite reach Greg Rucka’s unquestioned triumph with the last volume’s “Half a Life” arc. While this, and the other collaborated effort, are rather decent reads, one do wish quietly that the writers push themselves with just a bit more layeredness in treatment. After all, no one having tasted Häagen-Dazs will still sing “Give me Cornetto” — but, that said, Cornettos are still better than a water hose on a hot day. What I mean is: this does the job well but won’t exactly leave you awe-struck.

Gweek deals this volume an 8 of Clubs.


One Response to “Gotham Central: Unresolved Targets”

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