Rating: 4/5 – An Annual that Updates a Long-Time DC Villain.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The Gentleman Ghost’s first appearance goes all the way back to the late 1940s when he appeared in an issue of Flash Comics. Since then he’s popped up all over the DC Universe. Most recently in DC’s New 52 he appeared in the Savage Hawkman, and now in this first annual of Gotham By Midnight. Written by Ray Fawkes with art by Christian Duce, Gotham By Midnight is a standalone tale that can be enjoyed all on its own since it provides the reader everything they’d need to know to about the villain and his motives.
Annuals can be hit or miss when it comes to quality. A lot of times, annuals provide new and upcoming talent a healthy amount of pages to showcase their work. Although Duce’s artwork isn’t as common, Fawkes’ writing is prolific. Fawkes uses just two of Gotham By Midnight’s cast, Jim Corrigan and Lisa Drake, in a story about tracking the Gentleman Ghost down after he attempts to steal a valuable necklace. Over the course of the story, Fawkes is able to use the added page count to not only tell a solid “cops and robbers” story, but also provide an updated origin to the Gentleman Ghost, Jim Craddock. The origin adds some creative layers to Craddock’s history and although the updated design is nowhere near the original classic look, he does look a bit more dangerous. Fawkes decides to spend more time on Craddock which is definitely the right choice and although I would have liked to have seen the Spectre a bit more, deciding to shine the spotlight on the villain made for a more interesting read.
The Gentleman Ghost’s updated look is provided by Christian Dulce who’s art looks great from beginning to end. His pencil lines are thick, using plenty of shadows that’s all the more distinct when colored by the gifted Lee Loughridge. Most of the story takes place at night and Loughridge is able to use a healthy amount of blues and purples to give the landscape that perfect mood. Dulce uses all sorts of random panel layouts to tell the story and he’s an artist that can definitely tell a story. Annuals don’t always get it right when it comes to a healthy combination of both art and story, but Gotham By Midnight does. It tells a done-in-one story that takes a long standing villain in the DCU and updates his look and origin. Although the updated look doesn’t necessarily add to the villain, the additions to his origin definitely do
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture