Comic Book Mini Reviews: Gotham by Midnight #1, Trees #11, The Empty #4


Coming in for another round of weekly reviews?  This month we have picked a few titles that we are already well traveled with, with one coming from DC and two coming from Image.  This tends to be our trend here, where we focus on Image way more than any other publisher and usually only consider a few of the major two publishers.

Gotham by Midnight #1 (Ray Fawkes, DC Comics)

This has, by far, been the best issue of Gotham by midnight.  The first arc has the benefit of the Templesmith artwork, but there have been some awkward storytelling devices that have made it simultaneously simplistic and confusing at times.  With this particular Annual format, we get a one-off story that is a great relief for readers.  This is the perfect issue to start into the series with if people don’t want to go far back, and it is also one that is going to be evergreen and fun to come back to at anytime.  There may be an argument to make the series more episodic and easier to stay up with since the changing artists and weird characterization makes it easy to lose track of the story in between issues, or perhaps just having a summary at the beginning of the issue.

Empty #5 (Jimmie Robinson, Image Comics)

Just as the comic above, Empty #5 is the best issue of the series so far.  A strange little story, it follows these different humanoids as one from a tribe that barely survives on the Earth’s desolate wasteland then captures one from a tribe of very luscious greens to help her heal the earth.  They go on an adventure and pick up friends along the way, but it was difficult to figure what exactly was going on with each character’s background and their home tribes.  They now meet someone whose consciousness is projected out of their body, which is in frozen stasis, sleeping for thousands of years.  We learn about the background of this place, and it puts the current groups of people into context and we see where we are in a history.  The entire series is starting to come into its own, and this is likely the end of a five-issue arc that will make up the first trade.  This issue gives us confidence in the series as a whole now that we know where it is going and that it has an entire internal logic.

Trees #11 (Warren Ellis and Jason Howard, Image)

This is the first issue after the major catastrophe that happened in the last issue, and it is one we have been waiting for for some time.  There is a lot of blank space in this issue, which is nice because of the beautiful art, yet it was a little confusing getting re-oriented.  It seems as though issue ten will be the last issue of the previous arc, and it is really be written towards the trade.  There seems to be quite a bit of time past now, where the trees are getting socially de-emphasized to a degree, and it may be a couple issues before we have a good, concrete feeling about where we are now, just as we needed when the series first began.  It is hard to say where we are at with Trees, and though this may seem like a good issue for new readers because it may be the beginning of the arc, I would actually say that readers must return to the beginning and read forward just to have an idea of what is happening.  That is certainly what I’m going to do again.

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