Gotham By Midnight #7 is a quieter tale, focusing on a demon that creates more uneasiness than horror. The issue focuses on two narratives, as Detective Drake and Doctor Tarr investigate mass death in an apartment complex while Lt. Sam Weaver fends off Internal Affairs.
The members of Precinct 13 are still splintered in the wake of Sister Justine’s death. As Corrigan has gone missing, Detective Drake and Doctor Tarr take the lead on an investigation into an apartment complex. There they discover an odd scene. None of the victims died in any violent way or even a way that suggests that they were moved against their will. And in each one, a root of a supernatural force has taken place.
While Drake and Tarr begin searching for a solution to the problem, Lt. Sam Weaver attempts to deal with Kate Spencer from Internal Affairs. Broken from Sister Justine’s death, Weaver tries to explain to Spencer the importance of what Precinct 13 does, all without giving up the supernatural details that would have the whole police department laughing and have the Precinct shut down. Weaver goes on to claim that Commissioner Gordon used to protect Weaver’s unit from investigation in order to keep them free to actually solve their cases, and as Weaver speaks with Spencer, the issue shows us flashbacks to Weaver’s early interactions with Gordon. From these conversations, readers get a glimpse at just how unsteady Weaver is with the weight of the his precinct on his shoulders. Weight that is bearing down on him as his team faces a threat they may not be able to handle.
Juan Ferreyra’s art in Gotham By Midnight #7 further differentiates itself from previous artist Ben Templesmith. This isn’t a bad thing at all; it’s nice to watch a series change as a new artist takes over. Ferreyra uses a similar color palette to what Templesmith had used and that allows for a feeling of consistency, even if the styles are very different. Ferreyra also has some inventive layouts as the panels are positioned as the interiors of the apartment building.
Ferreyra also demonstrates his ability to tell a story through his character work. From the pensive way Corrigan approaches praying for Sister Justine to Kate Spencer’s growing impatience with Lt. Weaver, Ferreyra is able to express each moment in a way that drives the story forward.
Ray Fawkes’ script here is fantastic. One of the major concerns for any horror book is that it becomes a mundane monster-of-the-week procedural. Fawkes avoids this, not by trying to reinvent the horror genre, but by simply taking the time to engage the readers with the characters. Each issue of Gotham By Midnight has used flashbacks to help further the audience’s understanding of Precinct 13 and its members. Here, as readers learn about Lt. Weaver’s interactions with Commissioner Gordon, it not only shows readers their past relationship, but also informs how despondent Weaver is now that he doesn’t have Gordon to lean on for support.
While strong character work makes Gotham By Midnight shine, the actual horror elements aren’t quite as strong this issue. The idea for the demon making individuals apathetic is an interesting one, but the issue doesn’t give readers the time to truly feel like the protagonists are in danger before the solution arrives. It would have been nice to see this particular affliction be one that was stretched out over an issue or two, providing a nice supernatural parallel for Lt. Weaver’s own struggles with inaction.
Gotham By Midnight #7 stands as another issue from a title on top of its game. It’s becoming difficult to find new ways to praise this series which expertly weaves character and horror. Ray Fawkes has a great flow to his storytelling that allows readers to simply sit back and enjoy the narrative, and Juan Ferreyra is making the series his own with his creative layouts and nuanced character work. Gotham By Midnight #7 is an enjoyable read for both new and old readers, and well worth a look.