Written by: Ray Fawkes
Art by: Ben Templesmith
Publisher: DC Comics
Gotham City has been plagued by violence, crime and corruption since day one; normally the threat comes in the form of psychotic deadbeats and villainous criminals—human ones, but in Gotham by Midnight: Vol. 1, Jim Corrigan aka The Spectre and his task force of supernatural investigators must unravel a mystery that threatens millions of people’s lives. Yep, as if Gotham didn’t have enough to worry about, the threat of demons, ghosts and other unworldly monstrosities want to take down Gotham brick by brick, and these guys are the only ones that can stop them.
Ray Fawkes has a beautiful, warped mind that brings such originality to a legacy that is already imprinted into comic book fans’ minds the world over; in Gotham by Midnight: Vol. 1, Batman is seldom featured—Jim Corrigan is the real hero here, and Fawkes has made him a fearless, witty and accessible protagonist that never gets overshadowed by his fellow partners or storyline. He stands head and shoulders above everyone else and becomes a hero in his own right. The writing is smart; Ray Fawkes is cerebral in his scripts and gets right to the hearts of the characters. There are some great backstories for Drake and Sister Justine that make the relationships between the task force personal—allowing the reader to form a connection with them.
The story is constantly gripping and you never feel like it drags or spends moments filling pages with mediocrity. There is a looming threat from the start, and by the end of the first part, we get to see the face of evil—and it is chilling. As the story progresses and the mystery begins to unravel, you are treated to some great dialogue between Corrigan and the supporting cast. Rook and Corrigan have a mutual respect that gets lost in the standoffish banter they both have, and Drake’s respect for Corrigan is rather moving. The pace of Gotham by Midnight Vol. 1 never loses momentum, and you are given plenty of time to take in the story. Within the last few pages lies a brilliant revelation to the reasoning of the demon’s uprising, which even acknowledges the high number of criminals amongst the living and breathing—whether this was on purpose or not remains to be seen, but it references Batman and his fight against crime in an intelligent way that only reiterates Fawkes’ genius even more.
Ben Templesmith does a fantastic job of illustrating. The messy and terrifying nature of his vision of Gotham is unnerving, whilst the demons look truly horrific. Ben’s art is a perfect reflection of the darkness in Fawkes’ script, with not a single part of the comic falling out of sync with each other’s contribution to it. The whole volume is like a twisted version of The Scream by Edvard Munch, and Templesmith has had plenty of fun doing so.
Intersect Vol. 1 is one of the greatest collections I’ve ever read, and going into this I was excited to see Fawkes’ take on Jim Corrigan and Gotham’s paranormal underworld. Both Fawkes and Templesmith work well together, and it is evident in the entirety of Gotham by Midnight: Vol. 1. Hopefully the next volume will be as fantastic as the first.