Gotham Central—Book 2: Jokers and Madmen

gotham central book 2 jokers and madmen cover
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 8/10

Great stories and interesting storytelling


Comic Info

Comic Name:  Gotham Central

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Ed Brubaker/Greg Rucka

Artist:  Michael Lark/Greg Scott/Brian Hurtt/Stefano Guadiano

# of Issues:  12

Release Date:  2009

gotham central #15 cover lee loughridge art joker

Gotham Central #15

Reprints Gotham Central #11-22 ( October 2004).  The Joker is back in town, and just like his madness, his tactics are changing.  As both Batman and the GCPD hunt the Joker, the danger is getting greater…and sometimes the Joker’s games are deadly.  A series of deaths are tied to a pharmaceutical company and the Huntress is involved.  Plus, an old case of Harvey Bullock is back, and the truth behind an explosion that killed a group of children could be revealed…and Harvey is back to solve the case that haunted him whether the GCPD likes it or not.

Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, Gotham Central—Book 2: Jokers and Madmen follows Gotham Central—Book 1:  In the Line of Duty.  The volume collects the stand alone issue “Daydreams and Believers” (Gotham Central #11) and the storylines “Soft Targets” (Gotham Central #12-15), “Life Is Full of Disappointments” (Gotham Central #16-18), and “Unresolved” (Gotham Central #19-22).  The some of the issues were previously collected in Gotham Central:  Unresolved Targets.

This volume smartly amps up the ideas presented in Gotham Central—Book 1. The life of cop is difficult and add to that the idea if you were a cop in the most dangerous city that is full of criminals and superhuman villains.  Rucka and Brubaker present a “realistic” cop drama set in a world of superheroes.

The stories of the comic vary. The series starts out with a great stand-alone issue which explores a single member of the Gotham PD.  With Batman not being a sanctioned peace keeper, government dollars can’t be spent on him and they can’t turn on the Batsignal.  Stacy is part of the squad just for this purpose and it shows how despite not being “one of them”, Stacy is important…and how her job has led to an interesting infatuation.

gotham central #22 cover harvey bullock

Gotham Central #22

The first storyline brings the heavy hitters by using the Joker. A Joker story was inevitable and it is almost smart to get it out of the way early.  It isn’t my favorite Gotham Central story, but even the weaker Gotham Central stories are good.

“Life Is Full of Disappointments” is a rather basic story within Gotham Central. It does feel more like an episode of Law & Order and that is what the series needs in a way.  It can’t always be big supervillains or hard criminals…but having someone like Huntress stop by even in a basic story is also smart.

I think I liked the Bullock story the best in the volume. Harvey Bullock started out as a villain in the early Batman appearances but then turned into the basic slob detective.  Here, it shows that he was a good detective at some point, but the demons of being a detective in Gotham City can catch up to you.

Gotham Central was a great series and this is a great volume. The range of the series is immense and this shows what can be done with a police drama within a world of superheroes.  It is hard to say that anything truly fails in Gotham Central and each issue leaves you wanting more.  Gotham Central—Book 2:  Jokers and Madmen is followed by Gotham Central—Book 3:  On the Freak Beat.

Related Links:

Gotham Central—Book 1:  In the Line of Duty

Gotham Central—Book 3:  On the Freak Beat

Gotham Central—Book 4:  Corrigan

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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