By: Scott Snyder (writer), Francesco Francavilla (art & colors), Jared K. Fletcher (letters), Katie Kubert (assistant editor), Janelle Asselin (associate editor) & Mike Marts (editor)

The Story: Jim Gordon tries to close an old case while also dealing with his feelings about his son.

What’s Good: Sheesh, what a good issue.  “Haunting” is probably the most apt word for the story that Snyder weaves as he effortlessly links several tales.  Much of the story is told in flashback to a time when Gotham was plagued by the “Peter Pan Killer” who was breaking into homes and killing little boys.  It is a case that remained unsolved, but always bothered Gordon, so when his prime suspect is released from Blackgate in the present day….Gordon decides to do a little private stakeout to see if he returns to old habits.  Woven together with this A-story are Gordon’s feelings about his son, both the initial realization that something isn’t quite right with James, Jr. in the past and his grappling with what to do now that JJ has come home in the present.

But, the most spot-on moment of the issue is where Gordon discusses how he knows that his prime suspect is the Peter Pan Killer.  Gordon says that it basically comes down to an experienced cop’s intuition and ability to detect when a person “ain’t quite right”.  Of course, what does that mean about his son since Gordon clearly knows that there is something fundamentally wrong with JJ?  It is especially effecting how Snyder shows Gordon’s change from being unwilling to face JJ’s non-conformity in the past, but being so resigned to it in the present that he suspects JJ of doing things of which he is innocent.


The other thing that is really impressive about this story is how effectively Snyder tells the whole thing in a single issue.  In this era of writers and editors noodling ideas for 6 issues to get a “better” (or at least “thicker”) collected edition, this is a very welcome thing!

This is also the perfect book for Francavilla to draw and color.  This is an issue that thrives on it’s atmosphere and Francavilla is among the more gifted artists working in comics today at pulling off this sort of mature, skin-crawling, creep-fest.  The best way to put it is that I can’t think of any other artist who could have pulled this issue off as effectively as Francavilla.  Truly there are some artists who would have done neat things with it (Templesmith perhaps? Jock after that last arc on Detective?), but I can think of a whole raft of artists who would have been ineffective on an issue like this.  The combination of how well Francavilla owns the shadows and colors to create the mood he is shooting for is amazing.

What’s Not So Good: Batman!  It isn’t “bad” that Batman shows up in this issue, but I think it might have been better without him.  But, this is truly the territory of picking nits.

Conclusion: About as perfect of a done-in-one Jim Gordon story as you’ll ever see.  Snyder and Francavilla cover so much ground, tell a great story AND set up future material.  Even if you don’t follow Batman, you should read this issue.

Grade: A

-Dean Stell

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