Home > DC Comics > Gotham Central #17

Gotham Central #17

March 9, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Life is Full of Disappointments Part Two

The GCPD continues to track a killer, but Detective Procjnow’s mind is somewhere else.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Greg Scott
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Michael Lark
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue is the perfect example of what makes Gotham Central one of the best comic books you’re not reading. (I know you’re not reading it, don’t roll your eyes at me, young man.) Last issue a young woman was found dead, poisoned. This issue, another one dies. As Detectives Tommy Burke and Dagmar Procjnow take up the case, though, it becomes increasingly obvious that Procjnow’s thoughts are not on the mystery at hand, but on her son, who is making his debut as a professional musician… and who neglected to invite her to the performance.

This issue has the two things Greg Rucka does best – a mystery and a character drama. As Burke and Procjnow follow leads to track down the toxin that is killing innocent women, you get a sense of the pain Procjnow is trying not to let show at the fact that her son has essentially shut her out from one of the most important nights of his life. Burke shows more facets of his personality as well, becoming more than a stock cop drama character and showing real compassion and emotion for his partner.

If there’s any downside to this issue, which hasn’t been as big an obstacle in previous issues of Gotham Central, it’s that the police jargon gets a little confusing at points. Reading over it, you can pick up most of what they’re saying by context, but this is a title that could use a glossary (or even a few of those handy footnotes comic books used to use, remember those?).

Greg Scott is a fine fill-in for regular artist Michael Lark, who is taking this arc off. He manages to convey the urban feel of Gotham City without spiraling it into a cartoony version of the town. It almost feels like this issue takes place in a different world than the bat-universe. In fact, the only scene that features a superhero character at all turns out to be quite jarring, as though that character doesn’t exactly belong visually. There is one scene that Scott should have played with a bit more, as the angles he chooses makes it a little difficult to tell who is saying what. Other than that, the art is pretty much flawless, and just what you expect from this title.

Gotham Central is the book to give to people who don’t like superheroes. Yeah, occasionally someone in spandex drops by, but the story is never about them, it’s about the cops, the mystery and the relationships between people trying to do their job in a city where a Bat-Signal can pop into the sky on any given night. It’s a fantastic drama, and a book that is sorely overlooked.

Rating: 8/10

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