Monday, October 12, 2015

Comic Book Review: Gotham By Midnight #5

Gotham By Midnight #5, DC Comics, cover-dated May 2015.

“Judgment on Gotham,” by Ray Fawkes, with art by Ben Templesmith. Cover by Ben Templesmith.

This issue picks up exactly where the last one (reviewed here) left off, with The Giant-Sized Spectre taking on a similarly-sized Ikkondrid. As we learned last issue, swamp monster that has been tormenting the group this entire arc is the personification of the evil of Gotham City’s past, specifically its treatment of natives in the city’s founding.

So it’s a Spirit of Vengrance versus Spirit of Vengeance showdown for the right to judge a city. And since the city in question is Gotham City, Batman makes an appearance. In this story, Ray Fawkes moves from the tension of the “slow burn” he has built up for four issues to the intensity of a potential all-out city-smashing fight. A case could have been made that in the prior issues, not a lot “happened.”

All of the members of the Midnight Shift go work to protect the city, each in their own way. Including one team member pulling a gun on the comatose Corrigan. Maybe if the host dies, the Spectre stops? The team recognizes that a sacrifice of some sort must be made, that someone is going to die.

And Sister Justine does what she does best.  “Please, Lord. If I am a pure soul, as Corrigan says … please spare this city.” She stands in the gap, interceding for the city, asking the Lord to take her instead of the people of Gotham.

And as the Spectre turns toward the monster, thunder rolls, but it’s not really thunder. “Every window in the city shatters … and every living person falls to their knees.” The monsters don’t fight, which made the issue a bit anticlimactic, but the conflict does de-escalate.

Corrigan awakens, believing that they are safe. For a while. But there was a cost. The team suffered a loss. Someone had to die.

God answered Sister Justine’s prayer.

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