Gotham Central: Unresolved (#19 – 22) – Ed Brubaker

5 out of 5

This, to me, is Gotham Central.  Brubaker and Rucka each take particular characters from the crew to write – Rucka has history with Montoya, and along with her comes her partner, Allen; Brubaker gets Marcus Driver and those around him, such as Josie Mac – and they go heavy on procedural, dusting things with notes of Gotham’s spandex crew, and letting the looming shadow of history darken things up.

In Unresolved, a suicide ties back to an old cold case that Marcus and Josie are following up on; our villain-dusting comes via Mad Hatter, in a pitch-perfect plot wrinkle as executed by Brubaker, and the “looming shadow” is represented by grizzled ex-cop Harvey Bullock, who worked the case back in the day.  Ed tacks these pieces together logically and intriguingly, leading us – procedural, remember – from one detail to the next, and driving home the sense of no happy endings which haunts the GCPD.  Because this is all street level stuff, and because Mad Hatter is a regular-joe type villain, artist Michael Lark (and inker Stefano Gaudiano and colorer Lee Loughridge) is an excellent fit for guiding us through the crime scenes and interrogation rooms that populate our four issues.

There’s even a ‘previously in Gotham Central…’ recap page, and cue some awesome theme music.