The Infected: The Commissioner #1 – Paul Jenkins, Writer; Jack Herbert, Artist; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The Infected: The Commissioner #1, the last of the Infected one-shots, focuses on the most unexpected of the Batman who Laughs’ soldiers – Commissioner Gordon, a non-powered civilian with deep ties to the superhero community.
From the start, he’s been sabotaging Batman’s mission in the service of his deranged boss, and this one-shot flashes back to the beginning to show how his corruption played into the chaos in Gotham. Every Infected seems to have a unique MO, and in Gordon’s case the villain preys on his very real pain and resentment over what Gotham has done to his family. When the story begins, Gotham is under attack by the Infected and Gordon uses the opportunity to blackmail his fellow officers and sabotage the GCPD resistance from behind the scenes. These events take place between the pages of the early issues of Batman/Superman, and as such don’t feel like an independent story so much as lost scenes.
Paul Jenkins has made a strong return to DC after a long absence with this and the Black Adam one-shot, and this issue often has the tone of a tense crime drama. Picking Batgirl as the other side of the story makes sense, as it gives the confrontation between Gordon and a Bat-ally extra personal tension.
What doesn’t work quite as well are the villains – Gordon releasing the villains of Arkham with an “I did it 37 minutes ago” flourish is a good touch, but many of the villains seem like they’re just slotted in with no context. Lock-Up and Anarky in particular have very specific MOs, and Anarky in particular doesn’t seem like he would just sign on to kill Batgirl for hire. Overall, Gordon doesn’t seem as far gone as some of the Infected – really, only Shazam has been turned into a fully converted villain with no hesitation – so watching him slowly fall from grace is intriguing. Overall, these one-shots rarely seem like they’re telling their own story, though.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.