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Gotham by Midnight: We Do Not Sleep (DC Comics, 2014; #1-5)

Gotham by Midnight.jpeg

When something’s strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?

GCPD!

Jim Gordon has tasked Jim Corrigan with solving Gotham’s supernatural crimes.  He and the rest of Precinct 13, A.K.A The Midnight Shift, investigate phenomena that the rest of Gotham would happily never know existed.  As children begin disappearing and malevolent spirits emerge from Slaughter Swamp, an Internal Affairs officer shows up to investigate the Midnight Shift for appearances of fraud.  Corrigan insists that he ride along and see just what their mission is as he tries to banish their dark aggressors before the Spectre can emerge to subject Gotham to his judgment.

What makes Gotham by Midnight interesting is how Ray Fawkes’s skill in layering its narrative.  At its core, the book is a police procedural investigating spooky stuff.  But Fawkes adds the Internal Affairs investigation right away to not only complicate things for Corrigan and friends, but to give the reader someone with fresh eyes to help them into this weird version of Gotham.  Each member of the team brings something—history with this evil, the scientific acumen to learn how to communicate with it, etc.—that keeps the story from simply being heroes punching villains.  And on top of that, positioning Corrigan’s dual role as the Spectre as a ticking time-bomb that he always has to try to beat raises the stakes, especially as the arc plays out.

For all Fawkes’s skill in crafting the narrative, Ben Templesmith’s art is the book’s secret weapon.  He handles lines and colors both, and uses them to build a version of Gotham that ranges from disorienting and uncomfortable to terrifying.  It’s the kind of art you’d see in a cool, creator-owned horror title.

If you’re a fan of Jim Corrigan, horror books, or weird takes on Gotham City, you need to read this book.  I loved it—it’s much creepier than your usual DC book.  And while it uses recognizable characters sparingly, it does so well.  

Collected in

 

  • Gotham by Midnight, Vol. 1: We Do Not Sleep (#1-5)

Credits

Writer: Ray Fawkes | Artist: Ben Templesmith | Letterers: Dezi Sienty, Saida Temofonte

 

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