Review – Gotham City Monsters #3: Carnage at the Zoo

Comic Books DC This Week
Gotham City Monsters #3
Gotham City Monsters #3 cover, via DC Comics.

Gotham City Monsters #3 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Amancay Nahuelpan, Artist; Trish Mulvihill, Colorist


Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Compelling But Not Always Coherent

Ray: I will once again say that DC needs to stop spoiling the next-issue cliffhanger on the cover of issues! Batwoman is all over the cover of Gotham City Monsters #3 but her appearance in the book doesn’t come until the last page when it’s revealed that her knowledge of the Crime Bibles will make her an ally to this unlikely band of monsters.

That’s a shame, because this issue is once again pretty great as Orlando continues to build his team. When we last left off, Andrew Bennett had been taken by Melmoth and turned into one of his thralls, becoming the top weapon in the Martian tyrant’s army. The best scenes of the issue are in the opening, as the motley crew of antiheroes come to an understanding. Killer Croc is the highlight of this series, because I don’t think any writer gets his personality as a fearsome but human misfit quite so well. Even minor characters like Lady Clay are getting some serious development.

Like many series, the quiet moments are a little more compelling than the main plot. The heroes track Melmoth to a zoo where he and an army of Martian apes are attempting to perform a sacrifice to increase his power. That leads to a lot of scenes where the heroes show off their powers – including Lady Clay generating hundreds of swords out of her “flesh. But every time the the issue slows down a little, we get some genuinely special moments like a powerful monologue from Orlando’s original character Red Phantom. The chase continues by the end of the issue, and I think this book’s one big weakness is just how much it relies on past stories – some more than a decade old. It’s got Morrison at its core, and now Rucka’s Crime Bible mythology is entering the picture. I think Orlando’s building to something special here, but it might be largely impenetrable to all but the most hardcore fans.

Gotham City Monsters #3
Monsters in mourning. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Confession: I’ve never read the previous Crime Bible stories, which leaves me mostly lost with Gotham City Monsters #3. The first two issues gave me some good character moments but, right now, all the main characters are fighting for something of significance that I have no idea why or how it even works.

That makes the issue far more confusing than I would have liked. The best action segment to me was the chase scene in which our monsters rush to save the two guards. The desperation of our monsters and the fleeing, terrified guards in that sequence leaps off the page. When the monsters fail, and the guards die, it felt like a gut punch.

And then I didn’t understand why that sacrifice was needed, what Melmoth’s power set really is, or why it’s so terrible he has the Crime Bible.

I want to love this series and I do love parts of it but it’s not nearly as coherent as it could be.

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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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