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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

on 25 August 2015
Yet another fantastic concept for a Batman story, executed superbly and gripping from start to finish. Commissioner Gordons life in the police has pretty much sucked from the start of his career, first of all estranging himself from his first wife and son, then his daughter gets paralysed and he gets tortured and then recently his second wife was killed by the same man who crippled his daughter and hes had a huge falling out with Catwoman who has vowed to see Gordon pay for arresting her and humiliating her. Add on top of that the amount of times hes been demoted/sacked, belittled and humiliated by Gothams Mayors and politicians. The one thing Gordon was missing from his hellish life was to be shot.

Well here it is, the ultimate Batman who dunnit. Commissioner Gordon is shot (on his Birthday just to make it even more cheery) and its down to the entire Bat-family and the GCPD to find out who pulled the trigger. Which is easier said than done when the unstable Catwoman is the only suspect/witness. The book is extremely well written and does a great job portraying a story that contains very little action and making it into a gripping and suspense filled romp. Batman actually does very little during this book, choosing instead to mourn at Gordons hospital bed while his colleagues do all the work for him, which is actually great to see as the Bat-family get to stretch their legs and work together as a unit without Batmans supervision or constant secrets and judgement of their actions. All characters are portrayed perfectly and in character each with their own minor but crucial roles to play. In other novels the inclusion of too many characters sometimes becomes haphazard and confusing with stories over lapping or contradicting one another, this flows the entire way through with even the art remaining some-what consistent.. ill get to that later.

Catwoman may seem out of character to some people in this book but if you have read the surrounding independent Catwoman issues since No Mans Land you'll understand that shes had some major problems with Commissioner Gordon, been psychologically damaged by Harley Quinn and a "Women's correctional facility" and its later after this story revealed shes also suffering from Scarecrows fear gas that he planted on her in a way earlier story. if this does interest you as accompanying reading material the relevant issues can be downloaded from the DC digital download store.

The negatives for me in this book, firstly were the GCPD themselves, this book was a great opportunity for them to show their strength, to flex there muscles and rip hole in Gotham to find Gordons shooter. Instead they are useless and inept the entire time. constantly making the comment of oh let Batman do the work for us. then finally when they have the chance to do some good and have a suspect arrested and in the box they flop. Despite an intense and gripping interview filled with some fantastic dialogue and heated emotion the whole thing feels fruitless. I would have loved for the Police to put Batman in his place just for once and show that nobody messes with their beloved Commissioner, instead of the usual bungling. The conclusion is also very vague and not explained in this book. Its only in a later issue we find out what the ending meant exactly so you may be left scratching your head and heading to the internet to find out the conclusion.
Now the other slight downside was the art in places. As i mentioned earlier it was relatively consistent and strong..50% of the time. And 50% is a good amount when its describing a cross over even such as this containing several different Pencillers. But the negative 50% which seemed to have a fetish for chins disappointed me a bit. In one section which involves a brilliant conversation and dialogue between Bruce and Alfred all I could think about was the fact that Alfreds face was 75% chin. Could have and should have been a beautiful piece.

Overall I still definitely recommend this book to new and old readers alike. Its a great character and detective piece that has a valid point to make and by the end of the book changes Batmans world forever.. until its rebooted again after Infinite Crisis and One Year Later.
This book contains Batman #587, Robin #86, Birds of Prey #27, Catwoman #90, Nightwing #53, Detective Comics #754, Batman: Gotham Knights #13
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on 27 December 2003
I mean it. This is an excellent collection. The tale of the shooting of Commissioner Gordon is riveting reading, forgoing super-hero antics for a good Detective story in which Batman takes no active role in the proceedings, but his influence is felt throughout.
The basic story is that Jim Gordon is shot on his birthday and lies in intensive care. Catwoman is the prime suspect, but is actually innocent. As Batman mourns his friend, Gotham's vigilantes and the city police race to find and convict the shooter.
Jim Gordon was the best written character in the No Man's Land saga, and his rift with Batman that ran throughout the series showed the reality of a cop working with a super-hero. This relationship continues here. When Batman learns of the shooting (whilst taking down some minor villains), he goes into a blind rage, almost killing them. He then spends the majority of the time by Gordon's bedside, unable to cope with the loss of a close friend and ally. The stand out scene between the two has to be after Gordon's retirement, set in the same garden that featured throughout No Man's Land, as the ex-police officer reveals how his job has destroyed his daughter and his wife. Comic books (especially DC comic books) rarely bother with secondary characterisation (just take a look at the current Superman books), but Batman books are the exception to the rule.
This can be seen in the large role given to the Gotham City Police Department in the tale. They are the real stars, and the potential for storylines featuring the police in a city plagued with super villains is relaised here, as well as in the subsequent Gotham Central series. The best sequence is the one where Detectives Montoya and Allen try to extract a confession from the guilty party. Allen's reluctance to 'use the Bat' (i.e. threaten returbution from Batman) is well justified, and the consequences of his decision alter the course of the book drastically.
Hardcore Batman fans will be disappointed by the lack of involvement from Batman and his family of vigilantes. Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl and Azrael do play an important role, capturing Catwoman and uncovering the murder weapon, and Nightwing porvides emotional support for Barbara Gordon, who enjoys an extended part in the drama. Too often she is reduced to the role of Oracle, just handing out pertinent information to aid the Dark Knight. Here, she is able to be a crime-fighter and daughter in the same pages - the stand-out scene being when she (as Oracle) has heard of her father's shooting, but has to wait as Barbara Gordon to be told by the police.
There are only a few detractors from the book. The depiction of characters varies from artist to artist, with a guilty party changing from brunette to blonde almost randomly. Azrael is particularly poorly defined. And whoever the pander brothers anywhere near the pages of a Batman book should be shot, as their depiction of Harvey Bullock as a thin man, and Batman as Albert Steptoe in a skint-tight suit leaves a lot to be desired.
However, don't let the art detract from this well-written and well-plotted storyline. If Batman was like this all of the time, he really would be the World's Greatest Detective.
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on 7 November 2002
Officer down continues the "New Gotham" Batman stories. It's Commisioner Gordons birthday party but he gets one surprise to many. A rouge assaliant shoots Gordon, and he nearly dies. The police and the Bat Family originally pin the crime on Catwoman - but shootings not her style is it...?
Biggest shock is the resignation of Gordon as commisoner, who has protected Gotham for nearly as long as the Bat himself. However the story itself is quite weak, it is no surprise to learn Catwoman is innocent (this time) and the wrap-up seems conveluted.
A good book for followers of the Dark Knight, but not groundbreaking.
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on 17 November 2001
Taking place in the "New Gotham" series, Officer Down sees an attempted assasination of Commissioner Gordon on the day of his retirement.
Rather than portraying the Dark Night as the mean machine we all know and love, it goes deeper than that, portraying the man behind the mask, powerless, as he stands watching Commissioner Gordans, and more importantly, his best friends life ebb away in the hospital ward.
The case is left down to his proteges, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Azreal, and Oracle, to hunt down the only known witness, Catwoman, and discover the assilants true identity.
No supervillans this time round, but still a first class advanture no true Dark Knight fan should be without.
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on 23 November 2001
Since No-Mans Land Greg Rucka and the new team of writers have suceeded in making Batman (as well as the supporting cast) seem fresher and more rounded.
This story brillantly captures the complex relationship between Gordon, Batman and the entire Gotham Police Dept's view of the vigilante. This new crime-noir orientated approach to Batman stories is a fantastic approach, even giving Batman and Gotham a more realistic feel than seen pre-earthquake. The artwork is also superb, leaning towards a more natural style whilst remaining as sophiscated as ever.
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