Welcome to Recall Reviews, the column that features yesteryear’s classic series!
This week, we’ll be taking a look at a fan-favorite “Batman” title, Gotham Central
. I parenthesize Batman because while the this series takes place in Gotham City, Batman has very little to do with the goings-on of most of the stories. He’ll pop up every now and then, but it’s never for more than a couple pages at a time. This series mostly focuses on the Gotham City Police Department, specifically the Major Crimes Unit.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
GOTHAM CENTRAL #23-31
Issues #23-24 “Corrigan”
Written by Greg Rucka; Art by Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, & Lee Loughridge; Cover by Michael Lark & Lee Loughridge
By now, we’ve all heard plenty about corrupt cops in Gotham City. Whether it’s taking payoffs, using authority to intimidate, or being directly involved with organized crime, someone in the G.C.P.D. has probably done it. But there’s one cop I think takes the cake: James Corrigan.
Detectives Montoya and Allen stumble upon some gang activity when they’re suddenly face-to-face with Gotham’s newest “freak” villain, Black Spider. He gets the drop on Montoya and is about to kill her when Allen shoots first. He kills Black Spider in the process, leaving plenty of bullets for C.S.I.s to find. Enter Corrigan.
We’ve heard in the past that Corrigan may not be the most straight-laced or efficient cop. Under his care, several pieces of “high-profile” evidence have disappeared or become unaccounted for. If you recognize the name “Corrigan”, you may remember it from several series in the New52, like Batman: Eternal or Gotham After Midnight. His characterization has been altered a bit, but I won’t say too much how. I’ll just say that his new persona is a much better cop than previous iterations such as here in Gotham Central.
Anyway, by the end of issue #23, we learn that Corrigan has been stealing evidence from high-profile crimes to sell on the internet. The reason I say he’s got to be one of the worst corrupt cops is his lack of regard for what the crime is, even if it involves cops. Now, he’s taken a bullet from a scene that could help clear Detective Allen of any wrong-doing. He’ll put another cop’s job on the line to make a few bucks. Not cool, Corrigan. Not cool. However, we do get to see Montoya beat the snot out of him, so there’s that. This is not the last we’ll hear from him, and I’m afraid it won’t get any better…stay tuned.
Issues #25 “Lights Out”
Written by Greg Rucka; Art by Michael lark, Stefano Gaudiano, & Lee Loughridge; Cover by Michael Lark
New G.C.P.D. Commissioner Michael Akins is carrying out what the city has claimed to have wanted for a long time: finally tearing down the Bat-signal, though not everyone is happy about it. We’re also treated to some aftermath of previous arcs, and hear what a few of the Detectives think of the Commissioners move. An interesting break from the action, and a refreshing take on the opposing views of a vigilante in a city overrun with crime and chaos.
Issues #26-27 “On The Freak Beat”
Written by Ed Brubaker; Art by Jason Shawn Alexander & Lee Loughridge; Cover by Michael Lark
Detectives MacDonald and Driver investigate the murder of a televangelist they soon discover has a dirty secret. The Catwoman quickly becomes a key suspect, as this appears to be a high-profile breaking-and-entering gone bad. But suddenly, “Josie Mac” isn’t so convinced, and Catwoman learns some dirt on her even her fellows cops don’t know. Not a particularly significant arc, but it’s always nice to see other cops get the spotlight so we can observe how differently each of them operate.
Issues #28-31 “Keystone Kops”
Written by Greg Rucka; Art by Stefano Gaudiano & Lee Loughridge; Cover by Michael Lark & Lee Loughridge
For this “freak” encounter, we’re heading out of Gotham! A group of kids stumble upon a booby trap of one Dr. Albert Desmond, a.k.a. Dr. Alchemy of The Rogues, a villainous group usually fighting off The Flash! As an officer suffers through the side-effects of a chemical burn, we get another look at the relationship Montoya has with her parents since coming out about her homosexuality. We also see, once again, how cops in Gotham react when a freak goes after one of their own; this time is a little different though, as we see uniform police take more interest than when Driver’s partner, Charlie Fields, was killed by Mr. Freeze, as it was a uniform who was injured.
This was an interesting “crossover” arc (unfortunately not featuring The Flash) to lead us into the final stories of this much-beloved yet gone-too-soon series.
Though it has some important moments, I’d say this was a less-eventful and hard-hitting run of issues than previous. It could be that these issues were used as build-up to future events, as big things are coming for Gotham and our favorite Detectives, and even a certain youthful vigilante sidekick!
That’s it for now, but the Gotham Central finale, issues #32-40 will be up next week!
Tags: Batman, DC Comics, Gotham Central, Recall Reviews