Gotham Central, Book Two: Jokers and Madmen, by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka

I enjoyed this volume a little less than the first one, but overall I’m still loving this series. The characterisation here is spread a little thinner – the cast of characters widens considerably, but most detective partnerships get only a handful of pages each, so there are few deep and delving profiles such as we were treated to with Renee Montoya in volume one. One story features a rift between mother and son with all of zero backstory, another a cop with ties to the mob and a superhero never identified for the uninitiated. Sure, I could Google for deeper understanding, but as a reader I like my stories whole as presented, no research required for fundamental understanding.

The stories remain compelling, and the best are easily the ones where the Bat remains a shadowy, barely mentioned figure hovering on the periphery. The art is serviceable, and particularly shines in the first story – a delightful little character piece on administrator Stacy. It took me a lot longer to get through this volume than the first installment, and I found it easier to put down between (and even during) stories, but on the whole I’m still definitely looking forward to the next volume.

[Read from 7 February to 19 April 2016]

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