Reviewer: Tim Byrne
Story Title: On The Freak Beat (Part One of Two)
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Art by: Jason Alexander
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
The always excellent ‘Gotham Central’ commences a new (two part) arc right here, and Brubaker doesn’t disappoint.
I’m reluctant to go into much of the plot in this review, because the issue is beautifully written, neatly bringing several sub-plots into the mix, while still (2-part arc, remember?) providing plenty of story for the interested reader to hang his (or her) hat on.
In brief, a prominent televangelist in found dead in his apartment, and this issue follows the investigation as it logically progresses through examination of evidence at the crime scene and interviewing of witnesses / suspects.
There are also issues raised concerning the P.D.’s relationship with the press, and the interesting abilities of Josie MacDonald.
It always feels strange to speak about this or that comic set in Gotham City as being ‘realistic’, when if they were truly realistic, they wouldn’t feature crazies in fetishistic outfits running around causing havoc. However, when you read a book like Gotham Central, you really do get a sense of ordinary cops performing above-and-beyond the call of duty in a city where the normal rules just don’t apply.
The after-effects of War Games (Batman no longer having official sanction) are subtly referred to, but not in an overbearing fashion.
In case I’m not being clear enough, buy this book right now. Fascinating plotting, dense story-telling, and a ready antidote to all those who complain about the bugbear of ‘decompressed’ storytelling.
As for the art, it is now common knowledge that a serious change has taken place. Jason Alexander (presumably not a short dude with glasses) provides art here, and after the initial shock of a different hand at work, his style goes down nicely without complaint. My only comment is that the shadows on people’s faces sometimes look as if they’ve been in a number of fights.