We're three issues into this weekly run now and, well, I have a confession to make. I'm enjoying this story thus far much in the same way I enjoyed Dark Victory or The Long Halloween. The New 52 re-launch DC kicked off a while back hasn't given me something I've wanted: Batman fighting the mob. Not in great amounts anyway. The big reveal of last week, telegraphed as it was, signaled that big changes were coming to Gotham. Now we've got a villain who isn't just talking big but delivering even bigger in action. The words war have been tossed around in the series already but now? Gotham is far past the brink and the stakes have gotten even higher.
Jim Gordon's stint behind bars continues and, very wisely, we get a good glimpse into the workings of GCPD now that the venerable Commish is indisposed. The other various Batman books (all ten million of them in the New 52 alone) have mostly made Gotham Central look like a bunch of amateurish buffoons who most definitely need Batman's assistance. Tynion and Snyder, thankfully, don't swing in the opposite direction here either. We get, instead of overblown action scenes involving Bullock and the like, a lot of really crisp dialogue and a further rebuilding in the wake of Gordon's incarceration.
Batman is no longer reeling from the events of Issue #1 and #2. He is in full detective mode now and nothing displays that better than the fantastic two-page spread of him in the Batcave running through every disparate thread in the case with Alfred offering his two cents as well. No longer is Batman just swearing that he'll get those responsible but now he is doing something about it. What better way to clear your head, though, and sort through all that evidence than to zip on over to the Iceberg Casino and punch around Oswald Cobblepot (AKA: The Penguin a while). Some guys have meditation while Batman has his wicked right cross and The Penguin's despicable mug.
We get to see a bit of Jason Bard as well this time though it is but a scant few panels. I want more of the character as the story wears on. The power vacuum left at GCPD now that Gordon is out of the picture is an interesting angle for the entire department and a worthy side story to go along with the escalating sense that something truly mammoth is about to go down. Another character we haven't seen in some time also shows up once more. I won't give away any "spoilers" or anything but I must say I was glad to see them.
I do have a nitpick, though, and that is with Fabok's characters. He somehow managed to make Harvey Bullock somewhat handsome with the squared jaws and all-white complexions we're seeing all over the place here. Snyder and company did a better job than we're used to with Batman in making Gotham a more diverse place in past runs on the character. I hope we're not slipping back to the old ways here. The only character that doesn't the fit the somewhat homogenous look to his faces is Penguin. We've got more a Pride & Prejudice Penguin on display here and I like it. That aside? Pages with numerous panels somehow don't feel cluttered and pacing of action and interiors are a delight to behold. Colorist Brad Anderson continues to impress with this rather muted color palette.
Snyder/Tynion are keeping this train blazing down the rails with ease thus far and I'm loving the direction we're going. The idea of GCPD, now with new leader sitting at the top of the heap instead of Gordon, waging war on Enemy #1, Batman, is a bit old hat but, frankly, it adds a great wrinkle to a story replete with plenty of surprises left to see.