Review: Gotham City Garage – Chapter 1

Having a comic book based on a range of statues may sound like a crazy idea at first.  I mean who is to say what’s next; a movie franchise based on a theme park ride?  However, if you cast your minds back, creating stories for our heroes was what we did as kids with reams of action figures regardless of the fact that Batman and Spider-Man would never team up with Han Solo and Chewbacca to take down Darth Vader!

In Gotham City Garage, Governor Lex Luther has turned Gotham into a utopia where the Lexes network keeps the populace subservient.  Should the system glitch and a citizen wakes up, the gardeners are there to cut the chaff from the wheat with those requiring a higher level of pruning attracting the dreaded Bat.  Living in this society is a young Kara Gordon, who dreams of a wondrous woman and whose actions to save a life result in her reaching for the sun and the possible freedom it offers her.

The book is written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing who tackle this story as an Elseworld, which is exactly how you should think of it.  The pair offer a world that shares influences from any number of sci-fi from Logan’s Run, The Matrix and Doctor Who.  Thrown into the mix are the relatively recognisable DC elements; Kara is Kara and her father is a Gordon.  The dialogue is peppy enough to be intriguing without have to spend a lot of time trying to translate into layman.  Yes, I know layman isn’t really a dialect, but I am pretty fluent in it!

Brian Ching is the artist charged with creating another dysfunctional future Gotham.  Under his talented pencils, the Gotham we see here is a dark affair, which I guess is a given; it is Gotham after all.  Yet the darkness seems to actually come from the characters themselves.  Ching’s angular style is jarring when compared to some of the more standard looks that we see in comic books.  Yet it fits perfectly, augmenting Kara’s feelings of just not fitting in place.  Ching contrasts this semi dis-jointed view by delivering images that are instantly recognisable, including the aforementioned Gordon Senior, a Batman reminiscent of desert Bat from Batman vs Superman and is that a batpod thrown in there for good measure?  One other element to notice is how cluttered the panels in the pages when we are in city are, creating a level of claustrophobia which is a contrast to the later panel structure.  The fantastic Kelly Fitzpatrick provides the colors in her own way, proving again to be one of the best in the business.  Finally for your buck, Rafael Albuquerque provides a great cover.

Comic fans, both old and new, sometimes complain that “the more things change, the more they stay they same.” This can be a problem for comics and there is an argument to be made for and against books which are continuity laden.  Books like Gotham City Garage, whilst not suited to any real longevity, serves the purpose of showing us what could be out there; what could be in the future.  I for one applaud the worlds of else when, even if the page count is a tad on the slender side.

Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Cover – 5 Stars

Written by; Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzig
Art by; Brian Ching
Colors by; Kelly Fitzpatrick
Cover by; Rafael Albuquerque
Published (Digital First), DC Comics

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