Gotham Central #33 Review

Title : Dead Robin (Part I)
Writers : Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
Penciller : Kano
Inker : Stefano Gaudiano
Letterer : Clem Robins
Colorist : Lee Loughridge
Editor : Matt Idelson

In terms of opening pages, it doesn’t get much better than this. A teen-ager, dressed as Robin, is sprawled on the ground, his lifeless body surrounded by blood, a chalk outline, and a number of investigating police officers.

Robin is dead? We as the readers know better, but that certainly doesn’t stop the intrigue as we wonder how this situation came about, and follow the cops as they work through the numerous explanations for the situation.

Brubaker and Rucka are on absolute top form in this issue. They manage to work in a quasi-realistic police investigation of the possible ‘death’ of Robin, while maintaining a number of character threads from previous storylines.

Such previous stories as Montoya’s trouble with Two-Face, the difficulties with Corrigan, the position of Commissioner Akins and the history of the officers at the Iceberg Lounge. This hints don’t require the background knowledge, but are certainly there for the long-term reader to appreciate.

The frustration of the detectives, when faced with a town of loons and costumed crusaders just leaps off the page, and it gives a superb perspective on what its like to be ‘just another guy’ in a city with the obsessive Batman wandering around at will.

The final pages lead up to a doozy of a cliff-hanger, and I’m cursing the month until I can see the next instalment of this story-line.

As for Kano on art, the detail is superb. I particularly enjoyed the compelling though understated depictions of the various inmates of Arkham, as they were each in turn questioned by the increasing desperate detectives.

It will be a sad day when the partnership of Brubaker and Rucka is broken up, but for the moment I’m content to enjoy what may yet turn out to be their finest work.