Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Gotham By Midnight #1 Review (Ray Fawkes, Ben Templesmith)


If you saw last week’s episode of Constantine where Jim Corrigan appeared as The Spectre but didn’t really because he was a boring detective instead, then boy, do DC have the comic for you! Gotham By Midnight looks to be DC’s version of Dark Horse’s BPRD minus the interesting characters/plots, and set entirely in Gotham, a city riddled with cliches. 

Meet Jim Corrigan, a guy who’s drawn by Ben Templesmith to look a lot like Constantine but he isn’t! His powers include nothing and getting hit in his right eye by a lightning bolt for some reason (see cover for proof)). If you’re thinking he’s going to put on the green hood, cape and gloves, think again, because he wears regular non-superhero clothes instead to match his uninteresting personality! 

Joining him is a nun, a “tough” female sidekick who, unprompted, tells him the reason why she became a detective, Dr Labcoat (not his real name but he’s a forensics dude that you can tell is a forensics dude because of his labcoat), and two interchangeable guys holding guns. Together they are the GCPD Detailed Case Task Force and are the only thing stopping Gotham from being unprotected. Except for the rest of the GCPD. And the Bat-Family. And Batman. Yeah, they’re valuable alright! 

This first issue sees a walking Professor X cosplayer from Internal Affairs investigating the paranormal branch of the GCPD - they haven’t made any arrests so what use are they? Do you think he’s going to think differently when he goes on a ride-along with Corrigan and Tough Female Sidekick? Also makes an obligatory two page cameo because in case you didn’t guess from the word “Gotham” in the title this is a Batman spinoff book. 

Besides BPRD, I’ll mention another better series to compare Gotham By Midnight with: Gotham Central. This is like that series in that its about some (mostly) street level characters battling forces usually reserved for the supes. After the disappointing Gotham Academy and the dismal Arkham Manor, I was hoping Gotham By Midnight was going to be a good Batman spinoff but unfortunately Ray Fawkes’ script is so rammed with cliches, it fails to even be a decent read. 

“Are you a religious man?” x 2, “You don’t need to prove anything to anyone”, when he was a kid, Corrigan “wanted to be a fire truck”, “‘You people’ - what’s that supposed to mean?”, “They’re just trying to get a rise out of you”, “We’re at the end of our rope”, “Serving and protecting. When nobody else can. When nobody else knows how.”, are just a few lines that made me roll my eyes. Corrigan also drinks hard liquor because that’s what all detectives do, and in case you didn’t pick up that Corrigan and his team are cool and don’t play by the rules, he says: “I knew someone like you would come by sooner or later. Someone who’d try to apply the RULES to us”. 

Ben Templesmith’s art is alright if you like it - it’s unusual to see his style in mainstream comics so there’s that, and the dark colour palettes and horror tone are what he does best anyway so he’s suited to the story. But Ray Fawkes is such a bad writer that he totally stinks up this issue with his derivative script. A story involving missing kids? How original! 

If you like the lacklustre Constantine TV show and want to read a worse comics version of it, Gotham By Midnight is for you. Everyone else, don’t bother. In less than 2 months, DC are 0 for 3 on Batman spinoffs!

Gotham By Midnight #1

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