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Gotham Central #9

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark

Publisher: DC

Plot:
As the case against Renee starts up, we see the situation goes from bad to worse when her prison transport is attacked, and the unconscious Renee is loaded into the back of a waiting car. As our detectives arrive on this scene, we see the efforts of the newest member of the squad allows them to locate a dirty cop who took part in the kidnapping. Meanwhile Renee wakes up to find herself the prisoner of Two-Face.

Comments:
I've always been fond of the super-observant detectives, as Sherlock Holmes is far and away my favorite literary detective, and I love the television series Monk with its super-observant but fundamentally flawed lead character. With this in mind though I can't say that I'm overly impressed by the newest detective added to this book's cast, as there's a difference between noticing key elements on the scene, and simply having the character notice them because it serves to advance the story. Now I can understand her taking notice of the damaged mailbox, but having her spot the damaged car in the station parking garage felt like a complete contrivance, that served to pull me right out of the story. Now except for this rather awkward display, the rest of the issue holds up quite nicely, as there a pretty solid emotional moment in the court room where Renee's mother spot the other woman in the photo. The big action scene in this issue where Renee's prison transport is high-jacked is also an impressive scene, as the initial impact shot is well delivered, as is the rather chaotic atmosphere as the kidnappers locate who they've come for, after they've gunned down the guards. In fact, my only problem with this issue is the display of lazy writing that allows our detectives to get their hands on one of the people who took part in the kidnapping.

As for the art, Michael Lark gets a chance to deliver a fairly big action scene in this issue, and he doesn't disappoint, as the shot where the prison bus is brought to a crashing halt is a wonderful visual, as is the sequence where the goons rip into the bus with their machine guns. The quieter moments are also well done, as one can see the look of anger on Renee's mother's face when she spots the other woman, and the hurt look on Dee's face when she realizes what is being said. The little details are also nicely done, such as the numbered evidence cards that litter the crime scene, or the fact that our detectives decide to hold their conversation under an awning, out of the rain.

Final Word:
Another solid chapter that is somewhat undone by Greg Rucka's clumsy attempt to have his newest detective make a real contribution at cracking the case wide open. I mean the way that the dots are connected in this issue have a highly contrived feel to them that I found quite difficult to accept as anything but Greg Rucka simply manipulating the story so he could advance from point a to point b with as little effort as possible. Still, the issue still holds up as quite entertaining as Renee's life continues in its downward spiral, as this issue she moves from being an woman accused of murder, to an escaped fugitive, and finally the prisoner of a crazed lunatic. One also has to be impressed by the more emotional heightened sections of the issue, such as the moment in the courtroom where Renee's mother spots Renee's girlfriend, or the scene where Detective Allen has his little exchange with his captain involving the new partner he's been saddled with.



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