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on 4 January 2013
Technically a Batman comic, this excellent series is defined more by the hero's absence. Revolving around the Major Crime's unit of Gotham we're given more scope into the daily lives of various GCPD officers' we've encountered throughout Batman as well as a few new ones. Overall though this is a human story; the officers are flawed people with their own strengths, failings and at times prejudices, making them all more believable characters. Batman and some of his known enemies do make brief but pivotal appearances throughout with the Police left to deal with the aftermath. A real treat for me was the expansion of Renee Montoya's character into a figure as convincing and necessary to Gotham as Commissioner Gordon. To that end I recommend reading Batman No Man's land in it's entirely as the roots for this story are sewn there.
The best aspect of this book though had to be the art; Lark's work is a perfect fit for this crime/noir saturated run. I'm looking forward to reading the next volume.
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on 29 October 2008
The premise of this story is one that grabbed me as soon as I picked up the hardcover in Birmingham's Nostalgia & Comics bookshop. Putting the beleaguered Gotham City Police Department in the forgeround and shifting Batman to a pivotal, but rarely-seen supporting character is a master-stroke. The squad-room atmosphere and the sense of humour from the main characters has shades of HBO's The Wire. The artwork is clinical which serves to enhance the tightly plotted storyline. The writer's have given the large cast enough depth so that a reader unfamiliar with the DC Universe can quickly empathise with their attitudes and characteristics. Three great story arcs in this first hardcover book that deal with the fallout of the Dark Knight's war on crime in a new and intriguing way.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 February 2013
Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka draw focus from Batman to the men and women of the Gotham City Police Department in "Gotham Central". In a city watched over by a Dark Knight filled with colourful villains running amok, how do ordinary police fare against such an outlandish backdrop?

As a huge Batman fan, I think it's an interesting idea to see the goings on in Batman stories from the perspective of the characters who're always in the background, looking on as a guy dressed as a bat does their job for them. Having read this first volume though, I'm less convinced of the GCPD's abilities or the appeal of the series.

The first story features Mr Freeze who's doing his usual thing (ie. freezing stuff). The difference is we see the GCPD attempt to apprehend him rather than Batman - and they fail. Freeze's tech kills one of the characters and the detective's death affects the department as we see his surviving partner deal with the psychological trauma, guilt etc. and then search out the clues and figure out Freeze's plan. Which is kind of interesting if you enjoy police procedurals - but I don't. Also, the GCPD completely fail to take Freeze down. Batman shows up at the end and apprehends him, leaving him for the cops. Great, so they're pretty incompetent.

The second story is again mostly procedural as the detectives set out to solve a homicide, a topic that's fairly commonplace for crime stories. This one involves Firebug, one of Batman's D-list Rogues, but only briefly after many pages of detectives doing the usual police work of gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses, etc. On the plus side, the GCPD do manage to take down Firebug on their own even if he is without his equipment.

The third and final story features Renee Montoya (the only recognisable cop on the GCPD as Gordon's retired and Bullock's been fired for corruption) as she becomes framed for the homicide of a disgraced colleague. Again, kind of your run of the mill police story with a lot of character work for Renee, if you like her character, but once again Batman, standing in the wings like in the Freeze story, swoops in to save the day at the end. Good job, GCPD!

The biggest problem, besides the seeming uselessness of the GCPD to capture the villains themselves, is the cast. None of the characters are particularly interesting. They're the kind of usual cop characters you'd expect to see if you've seen cop shows like "The Wire" or "CSI" or "Law and Order". The blandness of the characters isn't helped by Michael Lark's artwork who draws all of the male characters in a similar way. They're all in their 30s-40s, white, average build, short hair, and wear shirts, jackets and slacks, some with ties, some not. They all look alike and their expressions are pretty much neutral whatever the situation - Lark can't convey much emotion with his characters so they have the same look whether they've lost a colleague or are drinking a cup of coffee. The lack of visual variety adds confusion to the story as there are at least a dozen of these guys wandering around and it's hard to keep track of who they are and what their stories are.

That said, these are fairly well written stories and they held my attention. It's just the effect, once I put the book down, was very underwhelming though, despite some problems with the stories, I can see why people like them. They're as realistic as you can get for a cop series set in Gotham. But the problem is when you set a story in Gotham, I don't want realism. I want to read about Batman, not the boring cops who sit around whining about how Batman's undermining their public rep. So every time Batman showed up in the series (about once or twice per story), I kept wondering where he was going and wanting the story to follow him instead of sticking with Cop#1 and Cop#2 as they struggle to keep up.

While "Gotham Central" is a decent cop series, I'm just not into police procedurals so wasn't as impressed with the book as a lot others have been. I'm glad I saw Gotham City from another angle but I don't think I'll be returning for Book 2.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 February 2013
Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka draw focus from Batman to the men and women of the Gotham City Police Department in "Gotham Central". In a city watched over by a Dark Knight filled with colourful villains running amok, how do ordinary police fare against such an outlandish backdrop?

As a huge Batman fan, I think it's an interesting idea to see the goings on in Batman stories from the perspective of the characters who're always in the background, looking on as a guy dressed as a bat does their job for them. Having read this first volume though, I'm less convinced of the GCPD's abilities or the appeal of the series.

The first story features Mr Freeze who's doing his usual thing (ie. freezing stuff). The difference is we see the GCPD attempt to apprehend him rather than Batman - and they fail. Freeze's tech kills one of the characters and the detective's death affects the department as we see his surviving partner deal with the psychological trauma, guilt etc. and then search out the clues and figure out Freeze's plan. Which is kind of interesting if you enjoy police procedurals - but I don't. Also, the GCPD completely fail to take Freeze down. Batman shows up at the end and apprehends him, leaving him for the cops. Great, so they're pretty incompetent.

The second story is again mostly procedural as the detectives set out to solve a homicide, a topic that's fairly commonplace for crime stories. This one involves Firebug, one of Batman's D-list Rogues, but only briefly after many pages of detectives doing the usual police work of gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses, etc. On the plus side, the GCPD do manage to take down Firebug on their own even if he is without his equipment.

The third and final story features Renee Montoya (the only recognisable cop on the GCPD as Gordon's retired and Bullock's been fired for corruption) as she becomes framed for the homicide of a disgraced colleague. Again, kind of your run of the mill police story with a lot of character work for Renee, if you like her character, but once again Batman, standing in the wings like in the Freeze story, swoops in to save the day at the end. Good job, GCPD!

The biggest problem, besides the seeming uselessness of the GCPD to capture the villains themselves, is the cast. None of the characters are particularly interesting. They're the kind of usual cop characters you'd expect to see if you've seen cop shows like "The Wire" or "CSI" or "Law and Order". The blandness of the characters isn't helped by Michael Lark's artwork who draws all of the male characters in a similar way. They're all in their 30s-40s, white, average build, short hair, and wear shirts, jackets and slacks, some with ties, some not. They all look alike and their expressions are pretty much neutral whatever the situation - Lark can't convey much emotion with his characters so they have the same look whether they've lost a colleague or are drinking a cup of coffee. The lack of visual variety adds confusion to the story as there are at least a dozen of these guys wandering around and it's hard to keep track of who they are and what their stories are.

That said, these are fairly well written stories and they held my attention. It's just the effect, once I put the book down, was very underwhelming though, despite some problems with the stories, I can see why people like them. They're as realistic as you can get for a cop series set in Gotham. But the problem is when you set a story in Gotham, I don't want realism. I want to read about Batman, not the boring cops who sit around whining about how Batman's undermining their public rep. So every time Batman showed up in the series (about once or twice per story), I kept wondering where he was going and wanting the story to follow him instead of sticking with Cop#1 and Cop#2 as they struggle to keep up.

While "Gotham Central" is a decent cop series, I'm just not into police procedurals so wasn't as impressed with the book as a lot others have been. I'm glad I saw Gotham City from another angle but I don't think I'll be returning for Book 2.
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on 20 March 2012
As the story of the Gotham City police department, you'd assume a significant part is played by The Batman himself.
This is however only(?) the story of the staff of the Gotham police, as they struggle to cope in a city which is corrupt with dangerously powerful super-villains as well the usual kidnappers, drug pushers and murderers.

This is gritty, dark and much more realistic then a traditional Superhero story. The action is intense and never-ending as you follow the day and night shifts of the GCPD like a fly on the wall, while also taking some time to create proper characters.

Lark's art does compliment it perfectly, playing with the shading and backgrounds to create just the right feelings, rather than lavishing detail on colourful scenes.

If you're looking for a Batman/Bruce Wayne story, this isn't it.
If you're looking for good detective/thriller noir in graphic-novel form, read this.

If you enjoyed this, I'd also recommend Torso by Brian Michael Bendis which is a little more gory however.
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on 31 January 2013
Well i wasn't sure about this novel but for me anything batman is a plus it's the start of a series and im only half way through it but so far very impressed a look at how the police want to do things without the aid of batman overall from what ive read so far very good and look forward to getting book 2
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on 31 December 2012
another in the set my daughter is asking for. book arrived safely and quickly and was as usual well packaged,
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on 15 May 2013
I am very happy with this purchase. It was a gift and I may buy another for myself. And it arrived earlier than expected too.
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on 5 October 2015
If you like James Gordon it's a mus buy😆
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on 6 January 2015
I got this on a recommendation. I have always found comics like Joker and some of the batgirl ones very interesting because they show you how everyone else sees Batman. This is quite obviously about the cops of Gotham and Batman is only in this for a few panels out of the entire volume. He is this omnipotent but nearly never present character, capable of solving any crime but out of reach either due to bureaucracy, pride or just a lack of evidence and the fear of what he would do if they wasted his time.

With Batman most out of the picture then the comic takes a very different turn. This is like watching Law and Order in the worst city in the world. Why anyone would live in Gotham is utterly beyond me. In this comic you will see murder, thief, torture, kidnapping, blackmail... the list just goes on and the cops come across as real people (slightly caricatured maybe but never to breaking point). It looks at very serious issue about their integrity, their personal lives and the need to be fearless in a city where any door you break down could have the Joker behind it and we all know how that is going to end.

I only gave it four stars because it lacks a certain je ne sais que in the quality of the writing. It is never a deal breaking and I'm being petty but my bookcase has the Long Halloween, Hush and The Red Hood so you notice it.
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