writer: Ray Fawkes / artist: Ben Templesmith / DC Comics
I’m not typically a horror-genre comic reader so I had low expectations beginning Gotham by Midnight, hoping the detective aspect would outweigh the paranormal. A pleasant surprise, Fawkes introduces the new series with great balance between the two, with Templesmith’s art anchoring what was actually an intriguing read. The story follows Precinct Thirteen, a division of the Gotham City Police Department created by Commissioner Gordon to handle supernatural cases within the city. Sound original? Nope, but so far it doesn’t need to be.
As an introductory issue we don’t see much development in our new characters, although one of them, Jim Corrigan, has been seen in Phantom Stranger and Batman Eternal. What we do see is enough to paint the character setting for readers: the subject is paranormal mystery, so there’s the archetypal skeptic, the confident believer, and the curious swing voter. Again, not original, but it fits so well inside the darkness of Gotham that it’s a wonder DC didn’t do this sooner.
Templesmith’s art sets the eerie tone of the comic that feels effortlessly creepy; there’s nothing too over-the-top yet in terms of artificial shock value or gore, and I don’t expect much that anytime soon. Instead, the series will hopefully focus next on fleshing out this new cast and developing their depth. All in all, Gotham by Midnight #1 is a great start to what should be an interesting horror-mystery series.
Score: 8 out of 10