Monday, 12 January 2015

Gotham By Midnight #2 [The New 52] - DC Comics

GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT No. 2, February 2015
There is something distinctly disturbing and unsettling about the contents of “We Will Not Rest”. Something which is only hinted at by the rather sedentary Ben Templesmith cover of Sister Justine and Detective Corrigan, the hand of The Spectre eerily glowing at his side, simply ‘standing there’ atop a grotesquely distorted grinning face.

But just as soon as the first page is turned, the chilling tone of this comic is swiftly ramped up as writer Ray Fawkes takes both reader, and to a lesser extent Sergeant Rook, on a horrifying journey to see some of the things which nightmares are truly made of. Whether it be the giant spectral Nun, her wimple hiding little of her putrefying features and whose large clawed talons can clearly tear a man’s soul to shreds, or the ghastly transformation of Father Keller into a multi-tentacled slavering fiend, there is little content within these twenty pages which won’t quicken the beating of your heart. Indeed, by the end of the comic I was almost as mentally exhausted as Rook, stunned by what I had experienced and eager to “…go home’ and read something somewhat less emotionally intense.

Unfortunately the 2012 Eisner Award nominee just won’t let his story’s grip on the reader rest, for after a brief interlude of coffee and bagels, the Midnight Shift discover that the dread terror witnessed at Slaughter Swamp States Park is just the beginning of something even more disgustingly horrific.

All of these distressing events are wonderfully illustrated by Ben Templesmith, worryingly so at times. His unique somewhat scratchy style of pencilling perfectly captures both the distorted and stretched aspect of the Nun’s frenzied ghost, as well as the debilitating fear ‘frozen’ on the faces of Sister Justine and Sergeant Rook. Although Templesmith’s depiction of the demonic drooling Minister, tombstone teeth and snaking tongue is perhaps the most disturbing series of drawings of them all. “Woof Woof!” 

The highlight however has to be the Australian artist’s handling of The Spectre, especially when things “…get biblical…” There’s no sign at all of the green cloaked, white tight-wearing spiritual manifestation originally co-conceived by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily. Fittingly so as well, as such an appearance, ghostly apparition or not, would doubtless destroy the ‘realistic roots’ which Fawkes is currently trying to plant with this title. Instead, Templesmith simply hints at the coming of the vengeful spirit, producing a series of panels concentrating on the terrified facial expressions of witnesses to his presence and awesome power rather than The Spectre himself.
The variant cover art of "GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT" No. 2 by Ray Fawkes

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