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Legendary Runs Companion Article: By the Books (Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark’s Gotham Central)

What to Read (in order): Gotham Central #1-40


Ed Brubaker

Greg Rucka

Michael Lark


Main Characters:

Renee Montoya

Crispus Allen

Michael Akins

Romy Chandler

Marcus Driver

Jackson Davies


Harvey Bullock

How to Read:

Gotham Central Omnibus

Gotham Central, Book 1: In the Line of Duty

Gotham Central, Book 2: Jokers and Madmen

Gotham Central, Book 3: On the Freak Beat

Gotham Central, Book 4: Corrigan


The Run-down:

It seems like there are a few characteristics that go into a legendary run. The first is an excellent creative team. Next, the creative team has to do something that hasn’t been done before, and finally, and more unfortunately, it has to get the respect it deserves well after the series has come to an end. Gotham Central meets all of these. It has a really cool premise too: focus on the street level of Gotham through the eyes of the detectives of the GCPD and do this with a procedural cop-drama lens. It totally works, and for a setting like Gotham, where every character has an extended backstory and it feels like every story has been told, this one is incredibly unique.

GothamWhat I really like about this series is the unflinching realistic approach it takes with its core characters. It would be so easy to have Jim Gordon show up in every issue, or Batman, or the thousands of Batman’s villains. While these characters do pop in, it is, thank goodness, brief. I couldn’t believe my reaction while reading the issue where Two-Face kidnaps Montoya and how much I hated it when Batman shows up. If this was a Batman comic, it would have been great, but since I was following it from Montoya’s point of view and I was invested in her character, I felt like she did. This wasn’t any of Batman’s business.

This was exactly the response that the creative team wants. It’s genius how Brubaker and Rucka turns the audience away from their traditional love of the familiar, and the way Lark illustrates any of the A-list cameos, it feels purposefully out of place, as it should. If you were a regular detective and Batman all of a sudden shows up, it would look awkward and this is how it is presented from these character’s point of view.


There is also the dismissal of the the expectations that in a world where superheroes exist that it changes the average person living in that world. Humanity is where the series excels. These characters aren’t trying to bring down a super villain’s because of the big picture motivation that draws in Batman, but because during their schemes they have harmed the average citizen, or in many cases friends and loved ones of the officers. These characters, like us, deal with bureaucratic red tape and the internal conflicts that define our sense of right and wrong, despite living in a world where a feeling of inferiority is far more palpable.


I can’t wait to discuss this episode this weekend and I hope you decide to join us. I feel like every episode we cover is a completely new experience, so in that mindset I want to take a moment a greet any new listeners. I’m happy that Mara and I have touched on something that has brought you back to check out more. Please don’t hesitate to become apart of the conversation. Leave a comment here, write a question for the show, reach out to us on twitter. If you haven’t heard our discussion on Ditko and Lee’s Amazing Spider-Man, you can do so here. After this week we will be joining Marvel’s First Family on one of the runs that demonstrates just how heartfelt and timeless they can be.

What’s Next?:

Friday (5-19-16)- Podcast: Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark’s Gotham Central

Sunday (5-29-16)- Companion Article: Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Fantastic Four (Fantastic Four vol 3. #60-70, vol.1 500-524)

Friday (6-2-16)- Podcast: Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Fantastic Four

Sunday (6-12-16)- Companion Article: Dwayne McDuffie’s Icon (Icon #1-8, 13, 19-22, 24-27, 30)

Friday (6-16-16)- Podcast: Dwayne McDuffie’s Icon

Sunday (6-26-16)- Companion Article: Grant Morrison’s Animal Man( Animal Man #1-26)

Friday (6-30-16)- Podcast: Grant Morrison’s Animal Man with special guest Bobby Shortle

Sunday (7-10-16)- Companion Article: Terry Moore’s Echo (Echo 1-30)

Friday (7-14-16)- Podcast: Terry Moore’s Echo

You can listen to our previous episode on Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt’s Legion of Super-Heroes hereand also on iTunes. Also if you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at:

Legendary Runs– @legendarypod

Matt Wood– @Johnnymattwood

Mara Wood– @megamaramon

Email at

Matt Wood is a high school English teacher in North Arkansas. His classroom is littered with comic book posters and notes about Hawthorne that are as difficult to decipher as they are to be interested in. Not Matt's fault though, Nathaniel Hawthorne…

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