Review by Frank Plowright
With a phenomenal opening shot supplying the basics of Gotham by Midnight, Ray Fawkes is able to use these stories to explore the mechanics of the Gotham police unit investigating supernatural intrusions. Their primary threat is the Internal Affairs department intent on closing them down, and via this Fawkes effectively fleshes out cast members who whose roles were smaller last time.
Rather than one continuing case as before, Fawkes uses the Internal Affairs investigation as the connecting thread between a series of individual cases, during which Jim Corrigan’s colleagues become more and more agitated about what he’s hosting. That’s a viable concern, and in the best chapter of what’s a well-written collection we learn the truth about the relationship between Corrigan and the Spectre, as Fawkes turns years of history on its head.
For all the intrigue Fawkes supplies, Rest in Peace ranks lower than We Do Not Sleep because the art isn’t as good. Juan Ferreyra’s talent is in no doubt. His page layouts are creative, a stunning car chase sequence over three spreads especially standing out, and there’s considerable effort in fully realised locations and crowds, but the talent’s not quite refined. For all the creativity and skill of the sample page it also exemplifies too many panels where the perspective is wrong, or the figures don’t quite look as they should. The eye is drawn to the man being too large for the window, a knee bent backwards and fingers just too long. This isn’t down to stylistic choice, as it’s inconsistent, and Ferreyra also often errs too far toward comedy exaggeration.
As Rest in Peace continues it gradually becomes apparent that the threat temporarily stalled in We Do Not Sleep wasn’t deterred for any length of time, and Gotham hosts plenty of restless dead souls unjustly killed looking for their opportunity of revenge. The crux becomes whether or not Fawkes’ seeming revision of the history Corrigan and the Spectre share is real or delusion, and what can really stop the Spectre on a rampage. That solution is neatly and surprisingly worked, involving a logically introduced new character.
There’s an also unconnected story, clearly and well drawn by Christian Duce, but in a far more standard style removing Corrigan and Lisa Drake from their gloomy corner of Gotham and if not quite pulling them into the daylight, certainly edging them toward it. Fawkes features the Gentleman Ghost, a DC villain of longstanding, and delves into his purpose and motivations, but the atmosphere is absent, and this is Gotham by Midnight’s most ordinary story.
Don’t let that put you off. If this collection had preceded the first it would be seen as a perfectly readable set of horror dramas with the emphasis on the cast’s personalities and inventive menaces, although a few small questions remain unanswered. However We Do Not Sleep set the standard very high indeed.