Batman: Gotham Noir
Ed Brubaker, writer,
Sean Phillips, artist
(DC Comics, 2001)

Gotham Noir takes an innovative look at the Batman universe by focusing, not on Batman, but on Jim Gordan. In this Elseworlds reality he's not the respected commissioner of police we all know and love; he's a soused private investigator, the sort made famous in many an atmospheric detective movie over the years.

The story has all the right elements: menacing mob bosses, thick-necked enforcers, corrupt politicians and even a leggy dame with a past and a secret. There's a twisted villain whose mutilated face leaves him with a perpetual, maniacal grin. And there's a shadowy bat-like figure dogging everyone's heels.

I won't give too much away in this story, but suffice it to say Ed Brubaker has written an excellent out-of-continuity tale set in a different time, a different Gotham than Batman fans are used to seeing. Sean Phillips has provided the dark, gritty visuals which could be the storyboards for a wonderful noir film.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 2 February 2002

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