Gotham Central—Book 3: On the Freak Beat

gotham central book 3 on the freak beat cover trade paperback batman cliff chiang
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Solid, interesting comic book series


Comic Info

Comic Name: Gotham Central

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Greg Rucka/Ed Brubaker

Artist: Michael Lark/Stefano Gaudiano/Jason Alexander

# of Issues: 9

Release Date: 2010

gotham central #23 cover renee montoya crispus allen

Gotham Central #23

Reprints Gotham Central #23-31 (November 2004-July 2005).  Renee and Crispus deal with Jim Corrigan who seems to have a problem holding on to evidence if it gets him a profit.  The Commission of the Gotham City Police Department declares war on Batman, and the GCPD finds they are not only fighting the superhuman villains but their former ally.  Detective Josie Mac investigates a potential murder by Catwoman but uses her own special secret sleuthing skills to do it.  An accident involving an old lab of Dr. Alchemy has the GCPD working with the police of Keystone City on a possible cure.

Written by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker, Gotham Central—Book 3:  On the Freak Beat is a DC Comics police procedural series.  Following Gotham Central—Book 2:  Jokers and Madmen, the collection features art by Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, and Jason Alexander.  The issues in the collection were previously collected as Gotham Central:  The Quick and the Dead and Gotham Central:  Unresolved Targets, but they were also part of the Gotham Central Omnibus.

I read a lot of Gotham Central when it was new (or at least newer).  The series was edgy and a fun combination of Alan Moore’s Top Ten, Powers, and the DC Universe.  It was both a Law & Order procedural series and a comic book series at the same time.  It allowed readers to see how a functioning police force would work with a town full of superhumans and vigilantes…and was a fun read at the same time.

The series functions well as both an investigative comic book and a continuing drama.  The seeds of this collection have ramifications in later collections, but the issues read well as individual issues and story arcs.  That is a tough balance to find and Brubaker and Rucka manage to find it.

gotham central #29 cover flash

Gotham Central #29

It benefits that both Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya are compelling lead characters.  They are rounded, have their own problems, and they have a code of ethics that is challenged by the institution they work for and the city they live in.  Both characters have a story arc (particularly Montoya) and each volume works to make them more and more rounded.

This collection takes a slight breather from Allen and Montoya with the addition of Josie Mac who helps her own investigations with a hidden superhuman ability.  It feels a bit like a cheat, but it does open another aspect of living in a world of superhumans.  I wish Mac had a bit more of an opportunity to be explored, but it is good to see other “heroes” of the force.

Gotham Central was a different and fun book.  I liked what Brubaker did with Captain America and Rucka has also been a strong writer in comics where he has an anchor to reality.  Gotham Central feels like a fun and unique oddity in the DC Universe, and it rightfully feels like a solid part of the creation of the TV series Gotham.  It is worth seeking out these issues as a solid crime thriller.  Gotham Central—Book 3:  On the Freak Beat is followed by Gotham Central—Book 4:  Corrigan.

Related Links:

Gotham Central—Book 1:  In the Line of Duty

Gotham Central—Book 2:  Jokers and Madmen

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.

Leave A Response