When a project has John Ridley‘s name on it, you know you’re going to be challenged. Movies, television, and comics, have all pushed envelopes by educating and delivering a “truth” that the world, history, life is messy. It’s full of shameful moments and there’s a lot of gray. GCPD: The Blue Wall #4 continues Ridley’s exploration of policing focusing on the Gotham PD and the challenges of being a police officer in today’s world.
The series has told the tale of three rookie police officers as well as the Police Commissioner Renee Montoya. Each has experienced massive bumps in their time, each seeing their optimism and hope slowly crushed by the system. Ridley has focused that there are people who want to do good but the system protects those that do bad, a literal blue wall resisting change.
One by one, our rookies have been worn down by the system realizing that there’s little way for them to really do good and deliver the Pollyannaish policing we all wish existed but know it does not. Each individual has been beaten down by a system that prevents them from doing anything good as the rigid system demands you conform no matter how incorrect that conformity might be. GCPD: The Blue Wall #4 goes a step further, showing that even when you do give in to the boys club that is the Gotham PD, you’re still treated as an outsider, you’ve shown weakness that only encourages more issues.
GCPD: The Blue Wall #4 makes an argument that if reform can’t be made from within, maybe it then needs to be made from outside, no matter how extreme. That anyone part of the system is a cog in that system perpetuating its flaws. It’s also an issue that has the series sliding closer to a traditional “Batman” title with the twist of a villain.
The art by Stefano Raffaele continues to impress with a style that feels like a balance between a somewhat grounded look and the fantastical world of Gotham. With Brad Anderson on color and lettering by Ariana Maher, there’s a gritty look to it all that could be a noir story or fit right into a Batman comic. Things are kept focused on the characters, their body language, and facial expressions, all of which add to the emotional toll each is experiencing.
GCPD: The Blue Wall #4 is a pretty big shift as to where the series is going. It’s gone from beating these characters down to action being taken, a more traditional action we’d expect in a Batman comic. Where the team takes it all should be interesting but this issue’s ending definitely delivered a surprise.
Story: John Ridley Art: Stefano Raffaele
Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: Zeus Comics – comiXology/Kindle