Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka’s Harvey and Eisner-winning series returns in a third hardcover volume. Batman takes a backseat as we go inside Gotham’s Central Precinct for an intricate police procedural.

In this collection, Detective Montoya has to track down missing evidence in order to clear her partner in a shooting. Meanwhile, a gang war rages in Gotham and the Commissioner has ordered the Bat-Signal taken down once and for all.

In another story, Detective MacDonald suspects Catwoman is being framed for the murder of an evangelical preacher. The final arc revolves around a beat cop who is exposed to a super villain’s chemical booby trap and transformed into a raging mutant.

Brubaker and Rucka’s writing is spot on, the characterization rich. And the way Batman’s presence is always felt on the fringes, hanging over the proceedings, is pulled off with great effect.

Grade: A

Gotham Central: Book 3 is currently available.