Monday, April 18, 2005

GOTHAM CENTRAL #30

Unlike last issue, which was a little slow and entirely too dedicated to catching readers up with the world of the Flash, this one had a brisker pace even if it didn't get much more done. The end of the issue had to end where it did, but there was a bit of rough sledding to get there. Police bureaucracy in two separate juristictions had to be outfoxed, however, so we'll be generous with the forgiveness here. And the end was certainly interesting enough, if not exactly a surprise -- after giving us the hint of a cure for Officer Kelly, including his return to consciousness and sanity, Dr. Alchemy took his experiment on a joyride.

If I had a problem this issue, it was with the interrogation scene. I came away thinking that it's Greg Rucka and he should be better at this than he was, but in hindsight I don't know that I have any basis for such an assumption beyond "Well, it's Rucka and he should be good at everything." There hasn't been a real need for classical interrogation techniques from Batfolk or Atticus Kodiak or Carrie Stetko or anyone at Vauxhall Cross. Experience or not, this wasn't a great interrogation scene -- it was a very poor man's version of a Silence of the Lambs moment. From the interrogation through to his arrival at the hospital, Dr. Alchemy didn't seem especially genius or creepy or threatening. He was snarky and mean, but no Hannibal Lecter. More on the level of someone on Law & Order.

For the interrogation, Alchemy picked on the obvious points of 'weakness' to taunt Renee and Cris -- the former's lesbianism and the latter's skin color -- instead of being the master armchair psychiatrist Ashley Zolomon insisted he was. The Trickster could have come up with those taunts.
I kept waiting for some twisted barb or subtle chain-yanking out of the Rogue the Keystone cops and profiler are so obviously intimidated by... but none came. [Also, considering her history, Montoya's pendant seemed more prop for convenient notice by Alchemy than actually something she'd wear -- Renee may live openly now with her girlfriend, but she's very low-key about her personal life in general and a double-venus pendant sort of goes against that.]

Alchemy's 'outwitting' of the cops by pretty much getting them to escort him directly to his experiment loses all luster because how could four cops so used to dealing with powered bad guys so completely underestimate their prisoner? Don't either Keystone or Gotham have protocols for the transport of metahuman prisoners?

It's fairly impossible for Gotham Central to be bad and this isn't, not by any stretch. It's just that when the bar is set so very, very high... sometimes you go under and sometimes you go through.

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