Review – GCPD: The Blue Wall #2 – The System Always Wins

Comic Books DC This Week
GCPD: The Blue Wall #2 variant cover, via DC Comics.

GCPD: The Blue Wall #2 – John Ridley, Writer; Stefano Raffaele, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: The first issue of this spin-off from I Am Batman was easily one of the strongest books Ridley has done for DC yet—and also one of the bleakest. The story of Renee Montoya’s new Gotham police department, as told through the eyes of three rookie officers, took an unflinching look at racism and corruption in the department. The officers, Park, Wells, and Ortega, all faced challenges on their first day. Park was the focus of the first issue, first being heralded as a hero for not shooting an unarmed man and then being exposed as having choked in a robbery gone bad. She doesn’t play a big role this issue as she faces a departmental inquiry. Neither does Ortega, the most out-of-focus of the trio, as he deals with racist goons on the squad and a father who doesn’t understand why he tolerates it. Meanwhile, Renee deals with her own demons—her alcoholism and her growing fear that Two-Face is making a move.

Hero or fraud? Via DC Comics.

But while the first issue belonged to Park, this one belongs to parole officer Wells. As a rookie, he believes in the system’s possibility to reform—but had his belief dashed last issue when his parolee committed the violent robbery. That, and his senior officer’s cynicism, bleeds over as he tries to help recent parolee and expectant father Devante, who is desperate to get steady work before his wife has the baby. As he’s pulled into the orbit of an old criminal pal, he reaches out for help from Wells—only for Wells to play it by the book at the worst time possible, leading to a tragic conclusion. A lot of people have criticized this book for being too pro-police, and I don’t see how they could read this and get that conclusion. While it definitely has compassion for some people in the police department, it’s ultimately a story about how the system grinds up decent people both inside and outside. It’s fascinating, and unrelentingly dark.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

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