Rating: 4.5/5 – Exploring Gotham City In a Dark New Light.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas
DC Comics has recently expanded their Batman related titles into some fresh and exciting territory with Batman taking the role of a supporting character rather than the lead. Gotham Academy takes a Harry Potter like approach to Gotham City’s younger residents, while Arkham Manor explores the famous Arkham Asylum in an all new way. Now, Gotham by Midnight has Writer Ray Fawkes and artist Ben Templesmith examining the more supernatural and horrific side of Gotham City.
Right off the bat we meet all the major characters of this series as Sergeant Rook from the Gotham City P.D.’s Internal Affairs department investigates Precinct Thirteen. Precinct Thirteen is a precinct that Commissioner Gordon created a while back, but that no one really understands just what it is that they do. After Internal Affairs looks into their case history and notices that they’ve never had a single arrest, questions arise and doubt begins to set in on just why this precinct would still be needed. As the sergeant conducts his investigation, we get to know a little bit about each member of the precinct, including Jim Corrigan who’s better known as the Spectre. Fawkes does a fantastic job of setting this story up and balancing all the main characters, all very unique in their own way and who look as though they will present varied storylines in future issues.
Ben Templesmith’s art is perfect fit for a book like this. Templesmith is probably best known for his work on IDW’s 30 Days of Night, but has a long resume of work especially in the horror and supernatural genre. To see his work here in a DC Batman book is exciting. There’s plenty of mood within this first issue and Templesmith’s trademark style works wonderfully for Gotham by Midnight. Each character easily stands out with their own distinct look and as the book goes on, the more horrific elements that Templesmith does so well slowly start to creep into the panels, concluding in a frightening last page. Although at times the sequential storytelling doesn’t flow seamlessly from one panel to the next, Templesmith’s overall style and layouts more than make up for it. This debut issue looks great from beginning to end, and stands out from all the other Bat-books out there.
DC’s Batman line of books continues to get stronger. Although there are a couple of Bat titles that don’t always hit the mark, it is great to see DC taking different approaches to the character and the deep, dark world of Gotham City. Fawkes and Templesmith are taking the reader on a journey of Gotham that isn’t seen very often, and the way they’ve chosen to do so with a brand new group of characters means we’ll be able to see different perspectives and different takes in the familiar Gotham City setting we’ve been reading about for years!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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