Gotham Central #15 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Soft Targets: Part 4

Written by: Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka
Penciled by: Michael Lark
Inked by: Stefano Gaudiano
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Assistant Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics

I like Batman as much as the next guy, but…

“Soft Targets” has made nice usage of recent events in real life and then drawing them into the fantasy world of DC Comics in an interesting way. Unlike Marvel’s heavy-handed attempts to constantly bring 9/11 and events in the Middle East into their comics, Rucka and Brubaker use the sniper attacks in the Virginia area in 2002 to tell a similar story of violence, fear, and the shattering of normalcy.

Gotham Central‘s biggest problem from the start has been an over reliance on the character of Batman to pull the cops asses out of the fire. As time progresses the problem still remains, although it has been muted to some degree. This is a book that I don’t want to see Batman in at all. In fact, I would prefer not to see so much of Batman’s gallery of rogues either. This is easily one of the best-written and drawn comics on a monthly basis, but I’d really like to see it a little less connected to the DCU.

A time to kill…

“Soft Targets” concludes this month with a flourish. After going on a killing rampage, the Joker turned himself in last issue with nary a problem. The only problem is that the Crown Prince of Crime’s coup de grace hasn’t occurred yet. Brubaker and Rucka give us some outstanding moments as the officers of the Major Crimes Unit attempt to find the location of a bomb that he planted. The entire story has been a superbly crafted race against time. Brubaker and Rucka outdo themselves with this final part.

While it’s great to see the characters this book centers on do most of the work this issue. It’s also disconcerting to once again see Batman come in and help out. There are great characters and situations going on between these pages every month, but for some reason Batman seems to show up at the conclusion of every story arc. This doesn’t happen in any of the other Batman Family of titles. It would totally ruin books like Nightwing, Robin, or Batgirl if that were the case. As things shake out at the conclusion of this arc, with any luck, Batman will take a real backseat from this time forward.

Michael Lark’s gritty artwork captures the urban sprawl of Gotham City to perfection. In much the same way that Alex Maleev’s work fits Daredevil’s fight in Hell’s Kitchen, Lark has the battle for Gotham down pat. Lark is one fine artist, and he’ll hopefully stay with this book for a long time.

The top 300 disgusts me!

I think the comic sales charts are an utter disgrace. Marvel’s ability to ship three and four copies of titles a month is shameful and does nothing but clutter the charts. Does anyone like X-treme X-Men? I didn’t think so. Then how is it that it can sell more than twice as many copies as Gotham Central? Oh and it’s not just once a month, but four times.

There are so many excellent comics out there that just don’t sell, while some Marvel comics are bought just because the letter “x” or the word “Ultimate” appears on the cover. If you ask me, X marks the spot of the ULTIMATE disgrace.