Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Hell, maybe it's suicide. The kid worked for Batman after all."
"Great. You want to ask him if Robin's been feeling depressed recently? "How's he been sleeping? Any signs of drug use? Trouble at school?""
"Aw, God... Can't be sixteen, even. You realise that if this is actually him, then even if this is accidental, the Bat is at fault?"
"Endangering the life of a minor... unless the parents are in on it too, then they're all to blame."
"Maybe Batman is one of the parents."
"There's a scary thought."
It's also quite a scary Batman: Kano's feral, spectral version all shadow and blur. When a boy who could well be Robin is found dead on the rain-sodden streets and the crime scene photography is leaked to press, the investigation follows all obvious lines of enquiry until the least obvious and in some ways sickest presents itself.
This is the final volume of GOTHAM CENTRAL, the superb police procedural drama in which the streets are made all the more dangerous by its more notorious inhabitants, and Batman, far from being embraced, is blamed for their existence and resented for the emasculation involved in having to fire up the spotlight and call for outside help. So they don't tend to do that: they solve the crimes themselves. Like any precinct, it's populated by a variety of individuals, and it's as much about them as the crimes themselves, in particular Detectives Renée Montoya and Crispus Allen, whose stories don't end well, for snaking his way through the pages has been bent forensics expert, Corrigan. It's here that their paths finally converge and the subplot erupts to devastating effect, shattering the lives around it.
Psychologically this is so well written, every artist they've chosen has kept it firmly grounded at street level, and a big tip of the hat should go to colourist Lee Loughbridge's part in all that. There's also a terrifying sequence in which no mere battle but outright Armageddon erupts in the skies above them, anarchy is loosed below, and Allen and Montoya have no idea whether they will ever make it across the city to see their loved ones again.
"Metal tears as something crushes the engine block. The windshield explodes inwards, showering me with safety glass. I tumble out of the car and into air that stinks of sulphur and burning flesh. My sight catches on one word and a face... and I freeze for a moment, staring into the eyes of a sin."