|Gotham Central Vol 2: Joker’s & Madmen|
The second collection from the Brubaker/Rucka written series, Gotham Central, follows the much the same formula as the first.
While I liked this volume just as much as the first, it may pull ahead slightly thanks to the introduction of Joker to the series. His arc, Soft Targets is easily the best of the bunch. Terrorizing the citizens of Gotham during the holiday season, Joker begins eliminating city officials at a rapid rate even going so far as to present the public with an accessible countdown clock to his next murder.
I loved the hell out of that story, especially Joker’s dialogue. There’s a lot of references to events from the first volume which is really helps develop an emotional connection to these cops.
I’m not planning on spending a lot of time on the other stories but I’ll say the following:
Daydreams and Believers makes you really view Batman in a different light. Not to say that it’s hard to imagine him becoming a sex symbol for some of the ladies of Gotham but seeing as it’s never been addressed in my experience (outside of Catwoman), it was refreshing and certainly very different to behold.
Unresolved was excellent. Outside of the animated series from the 90s, I didn’t really know a whole lot about Bullock other then that he seemed like a bumbling cop that Batman always seemed to get the better of. Boy, was I wrong.
Bullock was pretty great here. As Det. Driver notes, Bullock really is your prototypical old-school cop. I hadn’t been reading a lot of Batman around this time and was not aware of the story surrounding his dismissal from the G.C.P.D. The story brings you up to speed quickly and establishes how obsessive a cop can be when they’re unable to close a case.
Overall, this is a really strong and very compelling series despite the lack of The Dark Knight. While he makes his standard appearances, I believe he’s in this one even less than the first. A great sign that the series is really finding its footing and can lean comfortably on these great characters.