Right off the bat, I just want to say that I am a fan of this kind of Batman story. As you will come to know, I really enjoy stories that put Batman in a more realistic environment. The long Halloween, Killing Joke, the recent run in both Detective and Batman Comics, all of this I love. Because it is real. Well Batman: Gotham after Midnight has that same realistic feel to it.
We start the story with Batman catching the scarecrow up to some of his devious tricks only we find that according to Batman this isn’t the scarecrow’s normal MO. It would seem the scarecrow is seeking some gross old hand he calls the Hand of Glory. Just has scarecrow claims his prize, Batman comes out of the shadows and slugs him across the face saying, “I’m Batman.” When scarecrow doesn’t reply Batman asks him if he heard him, to which scarecrow replies, “The ‘Batman’ thing. Yeah. We’ve met.” There is some scuffle and the scarecrow tries to gas Batman to which Batman claims he’s grown immune and then smacks scarecrow again and rips off his mask and we see that Craine is not immune to his own gases. As he sees hundreds of Batmen pointing at him asking his MO. Needless to say the Police intervene and Batman flees.
The rest of issue in a glance goes as such. We see the bells strike midnight and reveal all these sneaky devils coming out into the night as well as several good common citizens fleeing into their houses. On the 12th dong we see our first glimpse at who I think is going to be out major villain and his is not one that I have seen before. Batman and Gordon have a conversation involving a very creepy Batman accusing one of Gordon’s men (or women) taking credit for his work. Batman says it’s important that the criminals know it is Batman putting them away. (Personally I could see it being important that the criminals know that the GCPD can do something too but that is just me.)
Following Gordon and Batman’s chat we see Batman in a very odd looking Batman cave. Most of the cave is filled with some machine that Alfred calls a “monstrosity” that looks like it could only serve the purpose of defeating Godzilla. (Alfred’s words, not mine. I think that this machine will come in use before the end of the series. Mark my words) Alfred convinces Bruce to eat a sandwich and reveals an important clue all in one page. Amazing. Which leads Batman to an old restaurant were after a attack by a gang of some sort we get our cliff hanger ending with Batman lying (gasp) dead!
This story is quick and flowing and not especially difficult to follow. The art work is also very Dracula Batmanish (Probably because it is the same artist, Kelley Jones). Mr. Jones’ artwork is fantastic. Perfect visuals to match Steve Niles creepy storyline. This issue is worth picking up for sure. I have already read the second part and I will say that it keeps right up with pace as we have another special guest villain. Whoo hoo. I will post my review on that issue shortly.
Issue Grade: B+