“Dead Robin, Part 3 of 4”
A second boy in a Robin suit has been found dead in Gotham, this time in Gotham Harbor after being choked to death. The police have few clues about who’s been committing the murders, and the media is hovering around the tragedy like bees around honey. Finally a connection is found between the first Robin victim and this one, but is it too late to prevent another murder?
If this sounds like a description of a TV show, that’s a good fit. Batman and Robin (the real Robin, that is) appear in this comic, but they’re secondary characters. As usual in Gotham Central, the Gotham police are the central characters, and just like on good TV shows, we see their ever-changing moods and styles as they try to find the killer. We see the cops try to follow procedure in tracking down the mysterious killer, trying desperately to save a life despite the lack of clues, media frenzy, and the tremendous pressure they’re under.
I like how Rucka and Brubaker respect the intelligence of the reader. There’s no super-heroics in the issue, nor any flashy profanity or nudity as in Powers. Gotham Central is all about police following procedures, all about living day to day in a world where super-powers are the norm, and real heroism lies in getting through the day and solving a few cases. The paradox of being a regular policemen in a world of super-powered heroes and villains helps add an extra level of heroism to the work of the police, and at the same time adds futility to the cops’ jobs. The threat of heroes swooping in and trumping the work of the police is always present, which would render all their hard work moot.
Kano, late of H.E.R.O. is a great choice for penciller of this series. His art has a very appealing, organic quality to it. Kano clearly enjoys drawing real people, and his art is evocative and realistic without being over-rendered. He also stolidly stays within a clear grid with his panel work – there are no full-page bleeds or oddly-arranged panels. Instead, underscoring the solid beat of police work, his page arrangements follow a traditional style.
This book is nearing three full years of high-quality material, and it’s still a terrific read.