Saturday, 29 August 2015

Gotham By Midnight: Annual #1 Review

Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Ray Fawkes

Art By
Christian Duce
Lee Loughridge

Lettering By
Saida Temofonte

Cover By
Juan Ferreyra

Published By
DC Comics

Horror, Supernatural, Crime


Get set for a tale of love and vengeance in this centuries-old mystery for the Midnight Shift – and the Gentlemen Ghost!


As a fan of the Gotham By Midnight series, I was intrigued to find that there was an standalone annual to go with the series that I hadn't read yet.  The overall series really does do a good job of delving in to the sometimes supernatural side of Gotham but I was left wondering where this story would fit in to the world that they had created for the characters of the Midnight Shift.

One of the things that has always stood out for me is that each character is completely separate and each has their own motivations for being in the team and taking part in the teams investigations.  The writers took a slow burning approach to revealing the personalities of the characters and that has worked extremely well.  Two of the most interesting characters for me have been that of Drake and Corrigan so when I saw that they were taking centre stage here, I was quite excited to see where the story would take them.

This story takes more of a classic detective vibe for this stand alone story and it really gave it an almost Sherlock Holmes feel, which as a Holmes fan myself I appreciated.  The relatively subtle pace, although it picks up massively near the end, let the story grow and let the reader slide in to the twists and turns.  Fawkes also gave the tale a sympathetic and slightly romantic feel as well but did so without going overly sappy or over the top.  That, in itself, lead to some very good character development for the characters of Corrigan and Drake.  I would have liked to have seen a little more substance to the attraction between Craddock and Drake but with hindsight, that may have taken away slightly from the crime side of things but there was a good back story for the character of Craddock as the Gentleman Ghost.

The one thing that I felt the story lacked was in the ending.  They had a fantastic build up, there was an appearance of Spectre that was handled well and they even had the normally unbeatable and unflappable character of Drake show a little bit of a softer side but the ending itself felt a little off.  I'd even say a little bit rushed but that said, it did leave me wanting to know more about the characters connections to one another so hopefully they'll reunite in the series itself.

The art has always been one of the things that has attracted me to the series and here they take a little bit of a style change.  The dark and brooding nature of the series is kept here but is done in a slightly more subtle way so that the action and story aren't lost under a mass of shadows and darkness.  I loved the slightly different look to the Gentleman Ghost and appreciated that they didn't have him go in to the weird spider-like creature until right at the end because  that really kept in line with the rest of the style of the annual.

All in all, if you are a fan of the Gotham By Midnight series then this is a very good read.  It does a superb job of showing some of the more interesting characters in Gotham in a different light and gives us a good, character driven and sometimes even sympathetic story that I would love to have been explored in a little bit more detail but it's an entertaining story and one that is well worth picking up.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 30.5/40

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