Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Keystone Kops: Part 2
Written by: Greg Rucka
Penciled by: Stefano Gaudiano
Inked by: Kano
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
In this issue: Allen and Montoya head to Keystone City to speak to the incarcerated Dr. Alchemy as one of their own continues to mutate back in Gotham City.
After a run of a few disappointing issues, this arc, now in part 2, has reminded me of why I liked Gotham Central in the first place. The main plotline, concerning the cops attempt to find some way to reverse the painful transformation of Officer Kelly, is suitable compelling. I enjoy that it has forced Allen and Montoya off their native soil and away from the “freaks.” I also appreciate that Rucka echoes sentiments that Geoff Johns made over in Flash a few months back: Batman may have some of the scariest villains in the DCU, but Flash’s are much more powerful and (as if that by itself was not enough) organized.
However, it is the book’s subplots that really sold it for me. This issue, Rucka favorite Montoya is back in the spotlight, dealing with the continued dissolution of her relationship with her family, (following her being “outted” as being in a committed lesbian relationship), and the changes within her since. They are two themes that have reverberated throughout Montoya’s appearances since the “Half a Life” arc, most recently when her girlfriend Daria admitted that she thought Montoya had come to enjoy the violence of her job (during “the Corrigan” arc). Daria is apparently not alone in this view as Batman makes a similar comment this issue and you know you have gotten cold when Batman accuses you of it.
My only strong complaint is that this issue gets so wrapped up in its subplots that the main plot seems almost…forgotten in the process. Considering the fact that, as of last issue, the GCPD knew of Desmond’s (Alchemy’s) involvement, but Montoya and Allen only just reach his cell to talk to him by the close of this issue, that belief is strong reinforced. What’s weird is that, page count wise, the main plot does dominate. Despite that, the pacing does seem to go slack this issue. Normally this sort of divergence does not bother me, (witness my Ultimate Spider-Man review from last week) but with this issue, it stuck out to me.
On the art side of things, Gaudiano does an admirable job of mirroring the man for whom he used to ink (Lark) style. There is a humanity to his figures, especially facially. Oddly enough, it is the face that I find his only misstep: Chyre simply does not look craggly or rough enough especially when compared to the definitive Kolins approach to the character. Otherwise, Gaudiano does a nice job of maintain the Gotham Central style while not coming across merely as a copycat.