Monday, January 25, 2016

Comic Book Review: Gotham By Midnight #8

Gotham By Midnight #8, DC Comics, cover-dated October 2015.

“The Jungle,” by Ray Fawkes, with art by Juan Ferreyra. Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.
Have you ever noticed how so many people who watch the news on TV become so angry? In this story, EVERYONE watching the news attacks each other at the same time, creating riots and fights across Gotham City. The news anchors sold their souls for fame and influence, and the consequences of that deal are manifesting, both in the news studio, and in the broadcast itself.
Detective Drake is injured in the midst of the riot. She  has tried to deal with the situation itself, warning Corrigan away. “The Spectre comes out here, we’re looking at a lot of bodies.”
Corrigan and Dr. Tarr head to the television studio, Corrigan admits he doesn’t know if the Spectre will come out, and Tarr has mixed emotions about this prospect.
“It’s a heady thing, to know I might be judged, that God’s agent might turn his gaze upon me … if that you claim is true.”
I like that Tarr doesn’t necessarily share Corrigan’s interpretation of the Spectre. His skeptical scientific mind is always at work. But he knows that SOMETHING might happen, and locks Corrigan out of the studio to handle the situation himself.
Similar to the annual and issue #7, the main story of this issue is a one-and-done. That is a nice change-of-pace, both for this title in particular, but also for modern comics in general. The story is wrapped up in this issue, although character arcs progress and subplots continue.
In the main subplot, the investigation into the 13th Precinct continues. Agent Casimiro sums up her thoughts on this subplot. “This is Gotham City, sergeant … and the Midnight Shift are killers.” The issue ends with Corrigan being brought in by Internal Affairs for questioning.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dead Theologians Society: St. Anthony of Egypt

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Egypt, one of the "Desert Fathers" of the church. In 271, at the age of 20, Anthony took seriously Jesus' words regarding the selling of possessions. Anthony gave all his wealth to the poor and moved to the desert to live the ascetic life of a monk, but was continually sought out by pilgrims for spiritual direction and advice.

In the early 300s, Anthony created a loosely-organized group of cells, which can be considered the world's first monastery. The story of Anthony's life (compiled by St. Athanasius later in the fourth century) greatly influenced St. Augustine, who was a toddler when Anthony died. Augustine went on to serve the church himself and leave many of his own writings behind, including his "Rule" for monastic life, written in 400, which led to great growth and vitality of the monastic vocation within the church over the next thousand years. These men helped to "normalize" the ascetic life of the hermit within Christianity.

In 311, in a renewed time of persecution, Anthony preached and taught throughout Alexandria, willing to accept martyrdom should it come his way. His life was spared, and he continued as a church leader, active in the fight against the Arian heresy, which denied the deity of Christ and thus the Trinity. At this point, Anthony was nearly 90. He died at 105.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Comic Book Review: Gotham By Midnight #7

Gotham By Midnight 7, DC Comics, cover-dated September 2015.

“Nobody Cares,” by Ray Fawkes, with art by Juan Ferreyra. Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.
Precinct Thirteen is in trouble. They’re in trouble with Internal Affairs, as the team has lost their administrative protector. Lt. Weaver admits that “Gordon used to shield us. Didn’t matter how weird we were, or how low are numbers were.” But Kate Spencer, the special investigator, may not be buying it.
And they are all recovering emotionally from the loss of Sister Justine. The team is fraying, as is Detective Jim Corrigan’s sense of self. In the acts of cleaning up her apartment, packing her things, he ponders as he can only do when alone. He is working through things, and we see his private pain.
“I’m not supposed to have any regrets. I’m an agent of Heaven.”
He quotes St. Augustine, and then asks God for mercy. “Please,” he adds.
And then the team gets called in to tackle an eerie situation, because in Gotham City there is always another eerie situation for the team to tackle. People in an apartment building seem to have just given up on life, lying down and dying. Corrigan arrives, identifies the cause as a particular brand of demon, and orders his team to evacuate the building. The Spectre is coming.
And Ferreyra does a great job portraying the eerie power that the makes up the embodiment of the Wrath of God. Corrigan does not fight the transformation this time, and seems to revel in the destruction of this particular form of evil.
And again, Internal Affairs wonders exactly what happened. And Corrigan’s team wonders what will happen to the city if something happens to them.