City of Crime

Author: David Lapham
Artists: Ramon Bachs
Titan Books
RRP 10.99
ISBN 1 84576 336 X
Available 25 August 2006

Bruce Wayne fails to recognise a cry for help from a wayward young girl - which sets in motion a chain of events that escalates to grotesque proportions. An inferno rages in Crime Alley. Six teenage girls die a horrific death. A mother makes a desperate plea for the safe return of her missing daughter. These misfortunes unite a city - but the secrets revealed may tear it apart...

A guilt ridden Batman embraces his role as the World's Greatest Detective and descends into the deepest layer of the city's underworld where he exposes the sinister roots of evil. In his pursuit of justice, the Caped Crusader faces some of his most dangerous enemies and learns some horrible truths about the people he's sworn to protect. This is Gotham City. Not every villain wears a mask. Not every hero wears a cape.

In City of Crime, Batman is searching for a missing girl on the city streets, little realising that his quest will take him through a nightmarish tour of Gotham's underbelly and bring him into confrontation with the hideous Body, the corporeal presence of the city's insanity, which has been slowly replacing the humans of Gotham identical copies that appear to be made of some form of living mud.

Along the way he crosses the path of a number of familiar enemies, including the Penguin, Mr Freeze and Scarface.

Not your average read, writer David Lapham bends a few golden rules within the Batman universe - like making sure that everything is the same at the end of the adventure as it was at the beginning (i.e. not killing off or seriously injuring any of the recurring characters). This helps to give it something of an edge - as you're never really sure what is going to happen next.

This is quite a meaty collection, coming in just shy of 300 pages, and represents excellent value for money. Another cracking Batman tale.

Pete Boomer

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