Gotham by Midnight #3
by Ray Fawkes, Ben Templesmith
What is it this time? Oh, a sentient shadow. That’s cake! Does any part of the job for Jim Corrigan and his band of misfits ever get to be normal or routine? Fawkes and Templesmith continue to build out this world of the weird in Gotham as the detective and his partner Lisa Drake take a call from a hospital. While Templesmith is certainly skilled at crafting some horrifyingly grotesque imagery, Gotham by Midnight #3 has a very different villain and source of terror.
This issue and some tonality of the series so far feels a bit like the Fox television series, Fringe. While there continues to be connective tissue between each issue, there is some notions of an episodic flow to the chapters. Here, Drake and Corrigan find a young girl suffering from something that is certainly not small pox. Meanwhile, Rook is still giving the unit a hard time as he is back at their headquarters going through files. It is comical to see this character so desperate to shut down the unit after seeing the events over the first two issues. Still, it will be interesting to see if Rook poses a real threat as Fawkes develops the series more. But the focus of this issue is the demon attached to this young girl and the terrifying truth to its reach.
A shadow monster that does not exist within real space and yet can travel over any surface as fast as light itself. With very little definition to the monster besides its true black shape and green eyes, Templesmith creates a villainous being that is unlike what has appeared thus far. The idea of not what lurks in the shadow, but the shadow itself being the threat is a great choice. Like a demonic twist the shadows from Neverland, shadows with minds of their own, can be nightmarish. From the moment that Corrigan makes his call, the book picks up momentum and races towards the finish.
All the while, this issue is peppered with bits of a flashback tale about Lisa Drake. Templesmith shifts his colors in these sequences as readers learn a bit about one of the members of the team. Drake’s origin has some elements that might begin to feel familiar before Fawkes shifts the story, pulling it back from routine and adding into it and the overall world building of the series a fantastic new twist. Readers learn not only about who Drake used to be, but how she came to work with Jim Corrigan.
Templesmith is fantastic once again, and though his covers boast a disfigured and gross aesthetic, Fawkes’ writing and Templesmith’s visual choices within the story evoke a much deeper unsettling sensation. As the issue comes to a close, the story connects itself to what has come before. Gotham by Midnight is like nothing else DC Comics is publishing right now. Let’s hope it sticks around for a while, because Fawkes and Templesmith are surely just getting started.