[World of Bats] Gotham Central #11-15 "Soft Targets"

Hello and welcome to the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

This week, to close out our theme of rogues highlighted in the hit movie The Batman, we’re going to be looking at the mysterious, the enigmatic, the impossible-to-tell cameo, the Unseen Arkham Inmate!

Heh. Hehehahahahahaha!

Okay, you know who that was, I knew who that was, your grandpappy knew who it was. It’s The Joker.

So seriously, this week we’ll be heading back to the freak beat of Gotham Central with issues #11-15, “Soft Targets,” written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, with art by Brian Hurtt and Michael Lark!

First, The Joker terrorizes the city at Christmastime when he begins randomly executing people with a rifle, and no one from the Mayor on down is safe!

Here are the links:

Gotham Central #11
Gotham Central #12
Gotham Central #13
Gotham Central #14
Gotham Central #15

Reading will run from 2022-03-26T05:00:00Z2022-04-01T05:00:00Z, but if you’re busy daydreaming romantic trysts with Batman (and really, who isn’t?), you can always come back later.

Looking forward to discussing this arc with you all!

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Can I just comment on how preposterous it is that the GCPD tries to pretend that a member of the Justice League is just an urban legend? :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, I suspect that Jim Gordon is actually the Joker…


Interesting to see things from the perspective of the police department. Batman is barely seen but they all feel his presence. This is less flamboyant and more hands on than I am used to seeing for the Joker. No helpers for him in this, and I didn’t know he was an expert marksman. A very cheery Christmas story for sure.


“So if Batman doesn’t exist, why do you have a spotlight with his symbol on it?”

“Oh that? Total fake news.”


Very cheery – perfect for Gotham. :smiley:

Oh, and happy birthday! :partying_face:


Thank you!

I was admittedly nervous about the story being set during the holidays, as I typically feel that Christmas and the Joker don’t mix. (See my complaints about other Yuletide stories featuring the Clown Prince of Crime.) But in this case, the Harlequin of Hate didn’t take up too much of the actual narrative with his antics, so it was fine.


I really, really feel the power of these issues, though they do raise a few issues that I think weren’t as elegantly handled as I wish. Hope I remember to check out the discussion on the first!


This is an interesting story and I like the police aspect of it; it makes the story feel very grounded.

I’m not sure what to think about the Joker’s plan here: it doesn’t seem very Joker like to just pick off people from a distance, but Joker would definitely want to sow the chaos that comes from that.

Another thought that comes to mind is that this was published the year after the DC sniper attacks. Do we know whether the writers were inspired by those real life events?


I think what john points out is one of my problems with the story as part of the main DC universe continuity. I don’t see how you could write this story as an actual Batman or Joker story - their actions don’t make sense. I know that’s the point, that it’s “normal cops in a world of gods and demons”, but since we spend most of our time with those gods and demons as our protagnists, it feels false to the world to make their motivations and actions completely counter to what we’d see in a normal Batman comic. I think it would be much better if we could see how it would work in a normal Batman comic, but seen from the point of view of someone who cannot actually change the events. A more Greek Tragedy view, rather than an existentialist absurdist tragedy.

Also, when the Joker gets a full magazine unloaded into his chest but survives…that is just too silly for me.

That being said, it’s still a powerful bit of character work - the cops pushed over the edge, and so many dying in the face of men they can’t come close to comprehending.


I think you summed it up well. While seeing the police pushed to breaking makes for great drama it just doesn’t quite work as a Batman-Joker story.

And yeah, Joker should not have survived that many rounds to the chest