Today’s Super Comic — Gotham Central #6 (2003)

gotham_central_vol_1_6I’m not a fan of police procedurals. But a police procedural set in Batman’s world? That breaks up the formula nicely.

Gotham Central focuses on the Gotham City Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit, during a time when Commissioner Gordon had retired. This GCPD isn’t necessarily Batman’s friend. Nevertheless, these ordinary but highly competent officers share his mission of stopping crime, especially the most colorful, eccentric crime that frequently plagues Gotham.

Writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka juggle a sizable cast over the 40-issue run of this consistently excellent series, and several come into sharp focus, particularly Detective Renee Montoya, the protagonist of the second storyline, “Half a Life.”

Rucka takes the writing helm for this arc, which begins in #6, and he clearly sets up Montoya’s status quo in this first part—her relationship with her parents, her typical interactions with her co-workers, her skill at her job, and her impending legal troubles. Then he blows it up on the last page, when a very private part of her life is unexpectedly made public. And this sets into motion what may well be the strongest storyline of the series…which is saying a lot.

Michael Lark brings exactly the right artistic style to the book. It’s down to earth, and not one character possesses a cartoonish physique. People look like people, and each face is distinct.

Gotham Central is a comic for adults…even those of us who lack any interest in cop shows.

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Michael Lark

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Gotham Central vol. 2: Half a Life (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up