The sweltering summer heat is bearing down on Gotham City, and Precinct 13 is on the case as things begin to get violent. Gotham by Midnight #8 opens as Detective Lisa Drake searches a busy plaza for the source of the supernatural energy gathering in the area.
She contacts Jim Corrigan to alert him to the gravity of the situation, having to speak loudly to be heard over the news broadcast coming across on dozens of television screens in the square. As the broadcasters begin arguing, the plaza becomes unsafe. Driven by supernatural madness, people begin assaulting one another and Detective Drake is injured in the melee.
In the aftermath, Corrigan and Doctor Tarr visit the scene to discern just what happened, and what the news broadcasters had to do with it.
Gotham by Midnight #8 offers some nice twists to the formula the series had built for itself. Whereas previous issues would often see a conflict ended by Corrigan’s alter-ego, the Spectre, Gotham by Midnight #8 removes Corrigan from the action in the third act, allowing for Doctor Tarr to take the lead. It’s a wise decision in a script that’s full of surprises. Gotham by Midnight is a horror book, and tends to be a gloomy read, but this issue offers some reprieve from the darkness. Meeting Lisa Drake’s boyfriend, Pete, not only allows for some humor, but also serves as a reminder that Corrigan’s team is made up of human beings with lives outside of their job.
Juan Ferreyra’s art continues to be stellar. Ferreyra’s shading really helps sell the characters as three-dimensional beings rather than drawings on the page and that physicality adds to the tension when the supernatural ramps up. And while the character designs come from previous artist Ben Templesmith, Juan Ferreyra shows a real strength in making sure his characters are distinct. Too often in comic book art, characters will be differentiated by a hair style or a costume color, but Ferreyra’s characters all look different. Both Corrigan and Pete have high cheekbones, but the rest of their facial structure is very different and its nice to see that type of variance executed so well.
On top of his character work, Ferreyra has a good sense of building tension with his artwork. In the opening scene he uses medium angles that capture Drake in profile for his panels, but as the crowd becomes hostile, his angles become more dynamic, and even a little erratic, adding to the sense of lawlessness in the scene. Detail’s like that add to the synergy and momentum of the issue.
Gotham by Midnight is one of the best books in DC’s lineup, and should be enjoyed by all fans of good character work and horror. But, alas, it only comes out once a month.
The ability to rotate focus around the various members of Corrigan’s team allows Gotham by Midnight to feel fresh each issue. Ray Fawkes and Juan Ferreyra both work in sync here, with a focus on building horror through the readers’ expectation for characters and revealing something new about them in the process. Gotham by Midnight #8 is another installment in a series that has become one of the most reliable buys in comics.