In Review: Gotham by Midnight #2

The supernatural scares in Gotham by Midnight will chill you to the bone. Outstanding stuff!

The covers: A twosome to trap in your collection. The Main cover is by Ben Templesmith, the book’s interior artist. It’s got a creepy image of John Corrigan standing in front of Sister Justine. His hand is glowing, and if you’re aware of who Corrigan’s alter ego, you know why. The image goes to the bizarre, looking at what the pair are standing on–a grotesque head that’s creating inky tentacles that are making their way toward the pair of heroes. This illustration tells you everything you want to know about what terrors lie within this book. There’s also a Variant cover by Rafael Albuquerque. This image is the exact opposite of Templesmith’s. It’s bright, even though the Batsignal is high in the sky. Using a minimum of lines to suggest faces, the left side features head shots of all the supporting cast members of Precinct Thirteen. To the right is a brick wall with a full figured Corrigan standing tall. It’s nice, but doesn’t suggest any of the horror that this book holds. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant B-

The story: “We Will Not Rest” by Ray Fawkes picks up in Slaughter Swamp where Corrigan and Sergeant Rook have arrived on a supernatural scene where a demon has kidnapped children and is teaching them in an old schoolhouse. As the demon makes its way to the men, Corrigan orders the sergeant to grab the kids and get out. The frightened officer does so, while Corrigan touches his heart with his right hand which explodes with electricity and takes on a skeleton-like quality. Meanwhile in Gotham Heights,a girl the team thought was possessed is screaming at the sight of Sister Justine. She gets into the squad car and contacts Lieutenant Weaver. The nun says they need Doctor Tarr, but her voice is so faint Weaver can’t understand what she’s saying. A flashback then occurs, occasionally interrupting the action in Slaughter Swamp, which shows how the sister became involved with the supernatural and how she was recruited by Corrigan. Both stories are equally exciting and have a link that’s involved with the long term arc of this opening saga. If there’s any grousing to be done, it’s that Corrigan uses his power as the Spectre, but readers don’t get to see him as this individual. Doing so would propel the book into a much more super hero oriented tone and I’m sure Fawkes is going to put that reveal off as long as he can. Overall grade: A

The art: All aspects of the visuals are created by Ben Templesmith. To say that the monsters in this book are disturbing is like saying the sky is blue. If a reader would like to see how monstrous Templesmith’s creatures are, look no further than the full paged splash on Page 2 as Corrigan yells at Rook to focus. This is only the second page and Templesmith has only begun to show the walking nightmares in Gotham. His coloring makes the creatures fantastically frightening, with a mesh of rust, white, and yellows to show that these creatures are rotting in their fleshsuits. There’s also a tremendous amount of energy coming out of the characters, especially when Corrigan goes into action. The coloring also makes this story seem like something out of an ancient tome, with oranges and yellows for age and a watercolor-like splotching technique. It’s as if everything these characters encounter is stained because of the splotching. The characters look great. There’s a wide variety of emotions coming out of them–fear, pain, anger, and relief being the strongest shown. I’ve enjoyed his work on Ten Grand and The Squidder, and I’m enjoying Templesmith’s work on this immensely. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The opening prologue, scene setting, dialogue, screams, faint voices, sounds, and police transmissions are provided by Dezi Sienty. He does a great job on the book allowing it to be read as rapidly as the action that occurs on the page, and without stepping on any major portions of the artwork. I do want to see the scene settings, such as at the top of Page 2, look more gothic. What Sienty is currently using is too metropolitan for the tone of this book. Overall grade: A

The final line: Precinct Thirteen deals with the things beyond the Dark Knight’s abilities. The supernatural scares in Gotham by Midnight will chill you to the bone. Outstanding stuff! Overall grade: A 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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