Gotham by Midnight takes us to the edge of an apocalypse for the City of the Bat. Ikkondrid has risen from the swamp more powerful than ever, the Midnight Shift has been dispersed (and dispatched by the looks of it at the close of the previous issue as Drake and Corrigan seem to have met their untimely end). The penultimate issue brings us to the very brink with the dead rising and law enforcement (including our very own RoboBat), overwhelmed.
And if that’s not bad enough, the Spectre makes his presence known–and he’s not exactly there to put Ikkondrid down.
The dead do not appreciate being entombed in the morgue
Where Have All the Heroes Gone?
Of course Corrigan and Drake aren’t dead. They come back rather off-handedly (blink and you might even miss it), but then we didn’t really expect them to go out like that anyway, right? Also, in case you aren’t aware:
Not sure if they’ll have time to explain Dake’s survival, but at this point is feels like a minor note in a thundering opera.
Oh there you are!
The problem with Corrigan, however, is that he hasn’t recovered from the shock of what he did in the interrogation cell two issues ago. I don’t really blame him, but I share Drake’s frustration as she attempts to slap some sense into him. I love Drake and I’m going to miss her. She is a wonderful, unapologetic righteous realistic. We need more of her in the DCU.
I had serious concerns when I saw that GordoBats was being hamfisted into this issue, but writer Ray Fawkes manages to get him in there without mucking anything up. It’s perfectly realistic that he would be called in to deal with a city-wide epidemic of ghoulies, so his inclusion feels purposeful and not gimmicky. Also, he has one of the best moments in the book:
They’re Still Here
Ferreyra’s work astonishes as usual, though it does feel a bit rushed in some places, and the layouts are pretty traditional (I get spoiled when I know an artist is capable of coming up with really interesting ways to present sequences and then defaults to the tried-and-true standards). Still, Ferreyra’s standards are always a cut above anyway. I think I’m just petulant knowing this book is going away in the new year. Yes, there are dark moments in my heart when I think: gee, DC, you suck.
But back to the wonders of what we have for the brief spell that it lasts. For the first time we get up close and personal with Ferreyra’s vision of Ikkondrid and he’s an ugly critter indeed: kind of a mash-up between a deep-sea angler and those funny Sesame Street aliens, but composed of dead people. How’s that for awesome?
Ferreyra outdoes himself with the dead. In sequences that are reminiscent of the beauty of “Night on Bald Mountain” in Disney’s classic Fantasia, all of Gotham is rising (that’ll teach the GCPD to mess with Gordon’s directives).
And You Should Be Too
It’s hard to resist the urge to just give this book a 10 all the way to the finish line, but I’m going to restrain myself and try to find some objectivity here. The truth is, this issue feels a bit muddy, both in terms of the pacing and in some of the art. I’m going to speculate this is likely the result of having to cram a lot of plot into a little space as we careen toward the finale.
And even then, Gotham by Midnight continues to be pretty dang special.
If you put off buying this book because you figured it would be around to pick up in trade or you thought it wasn’t going to be special, let this be a cautionary tale. If you love a character or a comic book writer or artist, support their stuff! It’s not only a crying shame that this title is cancelled, but the very fact that more people haven’t read it is a bloody murderous crime. It deserves a much bigger audience.
Lastly, one real kvetch. I haven’t been a fan of the Bill Sienkiewiez covers, and well, here’s another one. I just don’t think they’ve been a good match for the content of this book: they feel tonally wrong and don’t really capture the content well. I feel like someone made a marketing decision somewhere along the line to downplay the Spectre in this book and keep him off the covers. Or just rubber-stamped whatever Sienkiewiez turned in (because, well, it’s Sienkiewiez). Regardless, I think it’s unfortunate.
- You want to see Spectre lose his #@!&%. Seriously, the cheese has fallen off his cracker.
- You want to support a book that deserves way more love than the numbers have given it.
Gotham by Midnight is my favorite title right now (and will be for at least one more month–then I’ll cry in my beer). I have all faith Fawkes and Ferreyra can end it well, even under the pressure. And yeah, I’m still hoping for the possibility of an 11th-inning save on this storyline, this world, and these amazing characters. It could happen in a freshly launched Spectre book. C’mon DC, be cool.