Mind Capsules – Gotham by Midnight #2 and Arkham Manor #3

Gotham by Midnight #2
Gotham by Midnight #2

Writer – Ray Fawkes
Artist – Ben Templesmith

The Batman family of titles are a unique group of books these days with this title being perhaps the most uncommon of the bunch.  It is like a cross between a police procedural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and while it might not seem like the most natural fit, it works perfectly.  This issue sees Jim Corrigan, otherwise known as the Spectre and his crew continue their fight against a demon nun to rescue a group of children, though even after all is said and done, the children are still talking in tongues and the threat they think defeated might be bigger than they expected.  The pacing of the book is tight, wasting no time and no words on anything unneeded which can be attributed to the expert writing of Ray Fawkes.  It also looks fantastic thanks to Ben Templesmith whose work has always had a haunting quality to it and fits in perfectly as if the book was specifically tailored to his strengths.  Everything looks spooky and really sets this book apart from the rest of the DC Universe with its distinct look.  There is some great characterization going on as we get to know the new ‘Scooby Squad,’ but more specifically with Jim Corrigan.  Fawkes gives him a little devil-may-care attitude though the man truly cares about doing his job and doing it right.  We also see him struggle to keep the Spectre reigned in, not wanting the spirit to make an appearance as things usually escalate from manageable to not so much.  While the title might only be two issues in, Fawkes and Templesmith have succeeded in giving it a voice all its own and making it one of the best Bat-books going at the moment.

4 out of 5

Arkham Manor #3
Arkham Manor #3

Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artist – Shawn Crystal
Colours – Dave McCaig

Bruce is still undercover in the new asylum, his former home, and looking for Zsasz.  The problem is that Batman finds Zsasz tortured and bloody which means Zsasz is not the man he wants and is instead, someone else.  So far this book has been fairly interesting, though maybe not as much as the other recent launches in the Batman family, but still fun nonetheless.  Duggan has set up a good mystery that has been boiling from the first issue and one that seems to have received a bit of payoff with the return of one of Batman’s greatest foes, the one most associated with the man more than anyone else.  It is also good to see Bruce have to rely simply on his training without any of his vaunted gadgets and it looks as if he is not having the easiest time of it, proving that he puts too much faith on his tech to get the job done.  Shawn Crystal’s artwork that seemed a little strange at first when this title started is now something you look forward to whenever a new issue presents itself.  It is almost Kelly Jones-like in its appearance and he makes the Manor disturbing, where before it had history and a sense of grandeur it is now a place of madness and despair.  It is definitely a change of character, but one that was needed to give this title its overall atmosphere, one different from say, Gotham Academy or even Gotham by Midnight.  The book is left on a cliff-hanger that gives the reader a little revelation as to who might be behind everything as well as gives Bruce a new threat to face before he can leave the Manor behind.  It is not the best Bat-title, but it is nice to see something different from the line that is more tan just capes and tights.

3.5 out of 5

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