Gotham Central: Life is Full of Disappointments (#16 – 18) – Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka

3 out of 5

It’s just unclear what the agenda was here.

Gotham Central has thus far bounced between gritty mash-ups of procedural versus over-sized Bat villains, cop tales where the baddies take a back seat to the day-to-day, and fleshing out the GCPD bullpen, all with occasional commentary on what it’s like to police when the nights are ruled by a vigilante. But ‘Life is Full of Disappointments’ is like an isolated Law and Order episode when the main cast is on vacation, with a lower tier “guest star” just so you don’t lose ratings. There’s no villain tie-in, no Batman tie-in, we use two characters of whom we haven’t really hard much before – and who don’t have much personality beyond some opening page quirks – and even the crime that we’re focused on is incredibly low stakes in context of things. Which should be fine – not everything has to be a crazy murder rampage – but without strong characters to carry us through that, the arc definitely comes across as very, very average. Add to that the art of Greg Scott, which is wholly too flat and reliant on photo reference, and the thing visually stalls as well.

The everyday vibe of the arc is interesting, conceptually, and it’s enjoyable enough to follow along with the pitter-patter, Life is Full of Disappointments – perhaps the title is meta? –  just feels like a side step from what we’d been doing.