Friday, September 21, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Gotham By Midnight #1 Review (2014)


Seeing Is Believing


Written By: Ray Fawkes 
Art By: Ben Templesmith
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 26, 2014

Review by: Eric Shea

Well the wait is finally over all you supernatural lovers, Gotham By Midnight is here and we're going to see what Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith have up there sleeves to hook us on a team of Gotham cops and specialists that devote their time to investigating the things that go bump in the night that threaten the land of the living.  It's a very cool premise and it's good to get another title into DC's Dark category........ Is that still a thing?  It doesn't matter because we're going into Gotham and Batman isn't our main character and we're focused on Jim Corrigan and The Spectre isn't our main character, so this title right off the bat is working outside the box of superhero comics.  Let's check out what this first issue has in store for us and see if this is something that we can expect to grab us each month and put a little fear into our hearts as we scan each panel.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Right from the get-go we walk into this comic and realize that this is going to have a completely different look than what we're used to in DC Comics.  As of late, it seems that DC is willing to take chances in going against the norm in the type of stories that they tell to the type of styles they want their comics to have and this is something that you haven't seen in the New 52.  It has a real independent comic style look and whether that's a good thing or a bad thing it certainly grabbed my attention right away.  

As for the story, we begin this issue with Internal Affairs checking in on what the rest of the GCPD have amusingly nicknamed "The Midnight Shift".  You see Commissioner Gordon personally put this project together using discretionary funds from the GCPD and no one seems to know what this Precinct Thirteen really does with the exception of paranormal rumors and the AI officer in charge; Sergeant Rook really wants to shut it down and take everyone in for misappropriation of funds.  Sergeant Rook is met by Lieutenant Weaver, who introduces Rook to the consultants on the team, Dr. Szandor Tarr who's in charge of Forensics and Sister Justine who's in charge of.......... well praying I guess.  The leader of the team Jim Corrigan and another Detective Lisa Drake are out in the field meeting Batman, who has a bunch of different open investigations that he wants Corrigan to take a look at and when I say take a look at what I mean is, he wants him to wave his hand in front of them and when it turns into a creepy green skeleton, take it off his hands, because what the hell does Batman know about fighting the forces of darkness?  (Not a real question)


So Jim gets his case and Detective Drake and he takes it back to the team, where he gets the pleasure of meeting Sergeant Rook, who tells him that he wants to take down him and the whole damn Precinct.  Are there any cordial AI officers out there or are they all falling into the stereotypical category of assholes simply because they too watched movies where all AI officers were douche cookies?  You better believe that movies influence your actions people......... Whenever Space Jam comes on I simultaneously want to watch cartoons and play basketball and I'm only really good at one of those things.

Like I said in the header, seeing is believing and Jim and Lisa take Sergeant Rook to investigate the case that concerns two kidnapped girls that were closed due to the girls returning and the police chalking it up to them being runaways.  When the three get to the house they notice that on the ceiling of the porch there's a strange dirt mark that resembled a fork to me and when they entered the home we see that the parents of the two girls are at the end of their rope because their daughters haven't spoken real words since they returned and seem to be afraid of them.  After seeing how the girls act and listening to them speaking in tongues, Jim tells Detective Drake to get Sister Justine and bring her back to the house while Sergeant Rook and him head over to Slaughter Swamp.  Why Slaughter Swamp you ask?  Well besides for it is the scariest place around Gotham besides Arkham, it seems that the mark on the porch ceiling that I thought was a fork, is actually a symbol of a Black Flower that grows in Slaughter Swamp and on their way, Jim finds out that twenty-two kids have been reported missing since yesterday and man is my interest peaked as this mystery continues.

In the end Corrigan and Rook make their way through Slaughter Swamp on foot, but as they get further in, it seems that something is affecting the two girls and simultaneously as Rook and Corrigan begin to feel a sense of dread that is telling them deep within to stay away, the two girls begin screaming and............. Well it seems like they are thrown into the wall and set on fire, or are sucked into a portal in the wall.  I really don't know.  


It's nice seeing new style brought into the mix, but I was seriously confused at this bit, which really sucked because it felt like I was pulling the issue closer and closer to my face as I was wrapped in suspense and then I couldn't tell what was going on and was thrown right out of the story.  So shit's going down with the girls as Rook and Corrigan come across an old rundown church in the swamp.  We close this issue with Rook pleading with Jim not to go inside, but when he does we see a horrific looking nun teaching a classroom full of children and even putting aside the scariness of religion, this was some creepy shit!


That's it for the first issue of Gotham By Midnight and I have to tell you as someone who loves supernatural stories, this book did a damn fine job at pulling me in and making me care about what's going on in this world.  Hell, I actually yelled out WTF! when I turned the last page and realized that the issue was over.  That's some damn fine writing Ray Fawkes and now I kind of hate you for leaving me on such a spectacular cliffhanger, because now I have to count down the days until the next issue of Gotham By Midnight.  As for Ben Templesmith's art, it's really not a style that I would normally get into, but since I have no prior experience with Gotham By Midnight, it kind of works for me, with the exception of one scene where I was confused by what I was seeing, it worked really well and it's simplistic style actually added to the creepiness of the issue.  So kudos to the creative team here because they certainly have brought something to the New 52 that we haven't seen before.  See you next month as we continue this story and hopefully all the great things that we saw here will continue.  See you then.

Bits and Pieces:

When this series was originally announced I was really excited, but after waiting months for it to come out I have to say that my excitement waned a bit and man was I a sucker for opening this issue with a "Meh" attitude.  Gotham By Midnight immediately smacked me in the face and told me to concentrate as it took me on a supernatural story that left me begging for more by the end.  Also, I usually find myself going in for more of a DC house style of art when reading comics, but like the story, this art smacked me in the face and yelled: "check me out".  This is the first new comic from DC in a while that I would definitely recommend people to check out............ So go check it out already, you won't be disappointed.

9/10

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