This series about the GCPD late shift; think X-Files at the FBI. Nobody believes in them, they tackle supernatural cases and they’re constantly under observation to be shot down at any moment. Sounds rad, but is it good?
Gotham by Midnight #1 (DC Comics)
Anyone who has read Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith’s series Fell should give this a look. Same artist, different characters, and similar subject, in a sense. Hell, both of these series even have a nun character! The series opens with an Internal Affairs sergeant who’s looking to shut them down. He’s not a believer in the supernatural, but the GCPD late shift isn’t too worried he’ll change his mind by the end of the night.
Writer Ray Fawkes has a pretty sweet cast of characters here, although I wouldn’t say we get to know them all very well to start. There’s a nun, a forensics specialist and a man named Corrigan. He’s the only one of the bunch with some sort of powers. Of all the characters he gets the most time on the page, probably because he’s the main protaganist. This hurts the read a bit as the script focuses more on bringing the reader into the world and a specific case rather than reveal a lot about the characters. Another character, Lisa, gets to spout on about why being a cop is so important as it’s so inherently good, but aside from that this comic sticks to its opening mystery.
Which is a pretty good one. Corrigan drags the sergeant out to the suburbs of Gotham and they find two little girls speaking a “non living language.” It’s creepy as hell and should send tingles down your spine. From there things get a lot more complicated and creepy and it’s safe to say this is going to be one of the more unsettling comics on the shelves for awhile.
This is also in part because Ben Templesmith is a master at his very specific and unique style. The way he colors a panel makes the image look covered in grit and grime. If you thought an image couldn’t look dank, take a look at this man’s work. Characters can sometimes look a bit cartoony, but that’s made up for by some exceptional color. The color in this book tells a story of its own. Darker blues are used to convey dread while reds are used to enhance scenes filled with action. It’s a sight to see to say the very least.
Is It Good?
This is a good first issue as it captures the tone of the series with an interesting mystery to boot. The characters are a bit thin, but at least it’s clear how Batman fits in all of this.