Time for some filler

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During the long dark tea time between Batman RIP and the actual beginning of Battle for the Cowl, Batman fans are looking everywhere to get their Bat-Fix, and DC delivers this week with Gotham Gazette #1. It’s not really a newspaper, and the menagerie of stories inside really don’t fit a newspaper format, but it does fill that void since the last appearance of Batman.

gothamgazette1cover.jpgThose that followed the Bat Family of titles before they were closed or, in the case of the  Outsiders, rebooted, should have a fairly good understanding of who all the ancillary characters were and how they relate to one another.  Gotham Gazette features four short stories that features a who’s who of supporting cast members that includes Vicki Vale, Stephanie Brown, Harvey Bullock, Leslie Thompkins, Jamie Harper, and that Dark Horse Ghost rip-off Millicent Mane, who serves as the narrator of the issue.

The stories feels under developed.   With Batman gone, the citizens of Gotham City are in the grip of fear wondering who will protect their fair city.  It doesn’t help matters the Vicki Vale (returning to the Gotham Gazette after a period of absence) lands a front page story pronouncing Batman dead.  Like the reader, Vicki doesn’t believe Batman is dead and goes so far as to tell her editor that she expects to see Batman show up in six months or so. Unlike the reader, Vicki tries desperately to get ahold of Bruce Wayne to reassure herself that he’s not really dead, while behind the scenes Alfred (or Nightwing) cook up an elaborate scheme to trick Vale into thinking Bruce is play coy, thus giving her some hope that all will be well.

The idea of holding on to hope is one that several of the key characters in Gotham seem to want to hold on to, but with each passing day, the hoodlums and bad guys of Gotham get a bit more daring as they stage more elaborate holdups.  Leslie Thompson, returning from Africa, plans to set up shop once again, despite what Bruce/Batman told her the last time the two met face to face.  It seems as though she knows something bad has happened, and thus with Bruce gone, she’s able to resume the life she left behind. Unfortunately, her return coincides with a massive prison breakout and she’s forced to decide whether she should honor her doctorly duties, or do everything she can to bring an escaped convict down.

Being unsure as to what to do next is not only something that has the average citizen pondering, but it also seems to be holding Stephanie Brown back from donning the Spoiler mask and going out to help do what is right.  She’s torn between honoring the man she loves, or tossing that all down the toilet so she can scratch that itch.  Of the four stories presented in the issue, my favorite is Stephanie’s.  It good to see her post-Robin where she’s struggling to do what she’s been told, but readers are able to see that tug and allure of crime fighting pulling at her leg and taunting her to jump back into action.  I don’t know what Stephanie’s fate will be following Gotham Gazette #2, but I do hope she is a character that is able to stick around a while longer before the next writer decides to off her again.

The most frustrating story in the issue is the murder mystery involving Harvey Bullock and his new partner Jamie Harper as they try to solve what looks to be a rogue’s gallery assassination. While Harper tries to follow procedure, she’s constantly blocked by Harvey, who is back to his usual Harvey things. What makes this story most frustrating is reader still don’t know how Harvey was able to get back on the GCPD following Officer Down storyline from a couple of years ago.  At the same time, readers haven’t really been treated to any major Harvey appearances, save for the occasional cameo or one-liner.  Knowing Bullock can’t make a single mistake or he’s off the force again, it is interesting to see how he really proceeds through his investigation with a “don’t give a crap” attitude.  I do like the interplay between Harvey and Jamie, and if DC ever wanted to bring back GCPD, I would love to see these two as the leads in the series.

I’m still not a big fan of Millicent Mane, and there’s no clear indication what her role is in Gotham City.  Is she a hero, a villain, or simply a watcher and narrator of tales?   The character just doesn’t seem to fit, and seems forced into the DC universe like a child forced to go to a school dance for the first time.

For the most part, Gotham Gazette #1 isn’t a bad issue, if it were an ongoing mini-series, it might actually do really well, much like the Gotham Nights series from many years ago that told tales of those not directly connected to the Batman.  Perhaps that is the point?  Maybe this is the Batman anthology that has been hinted at recent conventions.  This one-shot doesn’t feel important in the great scheme of things, so it will be interesting to see how Battle for the Cowl and this issue tie into one another.  The issue stands on its own legs, so for now Gotham Gazette #1 earns 3 out of 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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9 Comments

  1. March 8, 2009 at 2:53 am — Reply

    I hope Spoiler stays out of the costume. I don’t like that character at all. She’s all filler.

  2. The Dude
    March 8, 2009 at 4:23 am — Reply

    I have a strong feeling that Stephanie will become Batgirl after Battle for the Cowl.

  3. Micah
    March 8, 2009 at 7:35 am — Reply

    i was glad to see that Jamie Harper from the last storyline in Robin didn’t disappear with the title’s cancellation.

  4. Lifeisaglitch
    March 8, 2009 at 9:26 am — Reply

    Harveys story is completely covered in Gotham Central, one of the best DC series EVER!

    • March 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm — Reply

      I may be remembering incorrectly, but Harvey’s return to the force hasn’t been covered as GCPD ended before One Year Later began.

  5. Lifeisaglitch
    March 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    I think you are right..im gonna lay off the crazy juice for a while…But this raises another question, why havent you guys talked about GC?

    • March 8, 2009 at 9:21 pm — Reply

      Gotham Central was canceled long before the podcast or the website was started, so we really can’t talk about the single issues (wink face). As far as talking about the series in the collected trade, one of the problems about doing that is it is quite a lengthy piece of work (at least 5 trade paperbacks) and with all the other things on our plates, I know there are some of us (I won’t say names, but one starts with an R and the other ends with an atthew) , who don’t have the time at the moment to dive into the trades yet. Plus there is also the issue of trying to track down the trades for everyone to read, which is especially troubling when the three of us are spread out over 400 miles – just see how long it took us to get to the Scott Pilgrim series (thanks Bryan)

      If you are making a suggestion, then consider it added to the list – probably right after we get to Mouseguard.

  6. Ricco
    March 9, 2009 at 4:59 am — Reply

    My guess for the mistery killer: Azrael, he’s do to come back and we’ve seen the Suit of Sorrows show up in Batman and the Outsiders.

  7. Anton
    March 9, 2009 at 6:25 am — Reply

    I think the best bit about about this is not just the fullness of the way you covered the subject, because that was very good, but the fact you started with a nod to a Dirk Gently book.

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