“Gotham By Midnight” #6 is a big shift for this fledgling series; not only does it serve as an epilogue for the storyline from the previous five issues, but it slightly shifts the structure of the book as new series artist Juan Ferreyra joins writer Ray Fawkes. While the book is still chugging along well enough, it does feel like the greater momentum needs to be built back up again.
The biggest shift for the series is the way this issue changes from “we find strange stuff” to “people come to us with their strange stuff.” Fawkes clearly knows that this is enough of a fundamental change that he even has the characters comment on this shift. It might not seem like that large a change if you haven’t read the title up until now, but “Gotham By Night” #6 feels distinctly more mundane, with the ghost of a corporate employee attempting to get vengeance on his former boss. Compared to creepy abandoned homes in Slaughter Swamp or children who speak only in an arcane, ancient language, this is not quite the same caliber. It’s not a bad little story, but this is no longer a book existing on the fringes of the DC Universe; instead, it’s a procedural with a little dab of the supernatural thrown in. Add in the book being much more frank about the other characters — with a detailed discussion of both Corrigan and Rook’s supernatural cores and what they mean — and some of the mystery is now gone.
Ferreyra replaces Ben Templesmith on the visuals, and Ferreyra’s creations are definitely rooted a little bit more in the real world. His characters have nice smooth lines and expressive faces — I like when Rook gazes thoughtfully at the empty drug baggie, and Fawkes clearly agrees since there’s no need for any narration or dialogue to sell that moment — but these are pages that could have just as easily appeared in an old issue of “Gotham Central.” Fortunately, the ghost of George shows us that Ferreyra can still bring the visual burst of something special when necessary; seeing his skeleton swoop through people’s bodies with that pale icy blue hue around it definitely stands out.
“Gotham By Midnight” #6 still features the mysterious black flowers from the first story arc, and it’s nice to see that particular element sticking around. Hopefully, in time, the creepy factor can build back up in this series; it was offbeat and different enough from what was already being published that it stood out in a good way. For now, this is an all right return for the series, but it’s not impressing at the level that it used to.