Review: Gotham Central: Unresolved Targets trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Continuing now our series on the Gotham Central trade paperbacks with Gotham Central: Unresolved Targets. (Click for our review of Gotham Central: Half a Life from 2005.)

Three trades in, and so far Unresolved Targets is my favorite Gotham Central trade, and perhaps the truest representation of what Gotham Central is and can be. I enjoyed the first two trades, but as I mentioned in my review of Half a Life, the second seemed more a prolonged Batman story to me than one genuinely Gotham Central, and the first trade understandably takes so long with set-up that the drama never fully gets moving. In Unresolved Targets, however, Gotham Central really finds its stride.

The two stories in Unresolved Targets highlight the two best aspects of Gotham Central: in the first, "Soft Targets," as the Joker's rampage paralyzes the city, we see how the Gotham police are constantly caught in the battles between Batman and his crazed foes; the second, "Unresolved," is a classic police procedural with only the slightest of meta-human influence. Both stories are riveting for entirely different reasons, and at eight text-heavy issues, this trade is a bargain itself.

I read Batman: Face the Face before this trade, and having only read Batman: Officer Down without any of the resulting single issues, I knew that Harvey Bullock was implicated in a man's death, but didn't know the exact details. In Unresolved Targets, we find a Harvey Bullock who's sunk pretty low--a murderer, to be exact, even if only his former partner Renee Montoya knows it--and contrary to expectations, Harvey is not redeemed by the end. That Harvey reappears in Face the Face, absolved of his sins, makes this One Year Later change in the character all the more interesting; I'd very much want to read a miniseries that showed Bullock's redemption.

[Contains full covers. Trade Paperback Slugfest: Unresolved Targets' strong drama and characterization far outshines Supergirl: Candor. A new winner!]

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4 comments:

  1. This was the best GC trade of the first three in my opinion but this was also the last one I picked up. I guess it's just me because I don't really enjoy police procedural stories be it in tv, movie or comics.

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  2. The last volume, Dead Robin, is pretty excellent too. Pity that DC's decided to not include any solo Brubaker stories in the TPB lineup.

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  3. When I looked at it all in the end (retrospective coming Monday), I was struck that there's just four or five issues missing--enough to make one more good full trade. With all DC's collecting lately, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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  4. does this collect the exact same stories as the hardback called jokers and madmen?

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