Gotham by Midnight #4
by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith
The essence or being that has been behind the bizarre events of the first few issues of Gotham by Midnight reveals itself here in issue four. The oddball department in Gotham has been on the trail of this being, and after a series of very strange events, this issue brings the story to an entirely new and massive level. Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith reach an arc climax in Midnight #4, and despite there being much to learn, the book really hits stride here.
Midnight #4 opens with the team divided. Though it is a small, almost unnoticeable aspect of the series, it is interesting to see just how infrequently Fawkes has the four all in the same place. Corrigan brings readers back into the world gesticulating about the state of mankind in the world today as Templesmith depicts a bar fight that escalates incredibly quickly. The scene is interesting, if not nearing cliché, though the creators interrupt this postulating rather quickly as Sergeant Rook dismisses these insights as he cuts off the strange detective. It is a humorous scene that switches gears almost immediately after and never lets up for the remainder of the chapter.
The infection is spreading, and in each issue it takes a different form. The supernatural series set in a familiar city has managed to be rather unsettling each issue, but bringing new horrors every time. The question about how long Rook will be on the verge of dissolving the unit finds an answer here and the team rushes to find a solution as everyone in the vicinity succumbs to this monstrous infection. The city is dying, and Fawkes and Templesmith bring the chaos and tragedy together in their most exciting and adrenaline filled issue yet. Dr. Tarr looks to have an answer to just what is behind the recent events, but that cannot stop what is coming from unfolding. Corrigan warns against their involvement as he shouts that The Spectre is coming. In an incredible sequence, Templesmith transforms the detective. The book’s first few pages have six or more panels on a page, but once the book reaches this transformation, each page is limited to four or fewer panels. It is a fantastic decision by the artist and the book’s momentum rockets forwards from here.
The change is a mix of horrific and beautiful, something Templesmith has mastered in his unconventional but incredible craft. The latter half of the book moves twice as fast as its opening, and delivers at every page turn. While Templesmith depicts this amazing jump in scale, bringing two beings together in a massive clash, Fawkes uses the divided team to his advantage. The story jumps between the members, each trying to grapple with the escalation of this infection. Every bit of the tale hits critical in Midnight #4. Those following along since the beginning are rewarded with this stunning sequence, and everyone else is sorely missing out on one of the best new series.
Though Fawkes and Templesmith escalate their young series in Midnight #4, the book does not find its resolution. This, however, is no disappointment to the reader as it teases another issue of events on this level next month. Fans best settle in, because Gotham by Midnight is definitely heating up. And for everyone else, there are thirty days to get on board before issue five.