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Childhood's End
Arthur C. Clarke
Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel
Scrivener's Moon - Audio
Philip Reeve
Gotham Central, Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty - Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark How do Gotham's Finest really feel about Batman? The initial assumption is that they'd feel grateful, of course. In Gotham Central's Major Crimes Unit, the detectives often feel a bit miffed that some guy in a Halloween costume can do their job better than they can. There's a certain amount of resentment, that they can't do their job without him.

There are five issues here, representing two seperate but interrelated stories. Two cops are investigating a kidnapping when they stumble across Mr. Freeze. The first two issues the MCU attempts to nab Freeze, and the next three cover the investigation of the actual kidnapping itself. As a procedural, they work for me. The pacing is tight, and there's a lot of interesting legwork going on. The actual solutions require a little too much serendipity for my taste, but I can live with that.

There aren't many books in the superhero genre that treat the reactions of normal people to all these costumed maniacs. I personally can't get enough. (Wasn't there a short-lived series in the 90s about insurance adjustors who dealt with superhero battle damage? I remember wanting to read that and now I can't remember what it was called.) Superhero books almost always forget the human element. They're protecting somebody, after all. I liked the conflicting emotions the police have here. On one hand, they resent Batman for doing their job better than them. On the other, they know they need him at times. It felt completely realistic to me.

The art is really good, and perfect for the tone of the series. It's dark, with a very earthy color palate and an almost retro feel. The one issue that I have with it is that there's not quite enough definition in character faces to make it easy to pick out who's who. There are a lot of white guys with short hair, and I'd like to be able to figure out who's who at a glance. This is early in the series, though, and I'm hoping they end up with more definition later.

This is a really promising start to a series I've heard really great things about. I'm eager to read more.