This is the second and final volume of Gotham by Midnight which collects the remaining issues, plus a stand alone annual and the Convergence Sneak peak which reintroduced the concept into the new DCU. The series was about a department of the Gotham PD, called "The Midnight Shift". It was run by Lieutenant Weaver, with Sergeants Lisa Drake (a banshee) and Jim Corrigan (the human vessel for The Spectre) serving under him and working alongside them, deputies Doctor Szandor Tarr, the forensic specialist and the nun Sister Justine who was more spiritually inclined. In the first book which was illustrated by the amazing Ben Templesmith, the spirit of the Native Tribe who the orginal Gothamites killed when starting up their town called Ikkondrid tried to use the Spectre to judge the city himself. But Justine sacrificed herself and saved everyone at the cost of her life. Ikkondrid has stopped being a threat for now, but there is still the mystery of the black flowers that appear at sites of supernatural occurences, and the threat to the Midnight Shift of being closed down as they have Internal Affairs led by a Sergeant Rook looking into their methods and results. Due to events going on the the Batman comic at the time, Commisioner Gordon is running around in armour pretending to be Batman who has lost his memory and therefore is no longer there to protect The Midnight Shift as he has been over the past few years. Art duties are now by Juan Ferreyra, the writer is still Ray Fawkes.
The Sneak Peak just shows Commissioner Batman ordering them to deal with a supernatural threat. The real story begins at Sister Jutine's funeral. They are all attending on a gloomy, rainy day. Corrigan says he hates funerals, he'd rather be "raising a glass to Sister Justine. That's a ceremony".
|Sister Justine's funeral.|
Corrigan: "The Spectre is what he says he is, Okay? Divine judgement. Destroyer of sinners. Remember the story of Sodom and Gommorrah? That was almost Gotham City last friday".
He says he has no control over him, he just tries to find out what will set him off and fix it before he appears. They tell him he's carrying a "nuke" and should leave town. Corrigan says he's tried, he just gets bought back to where The Spectre wants him.
Weaver says he know about The Spectre, but Drake has a power as well, her scream. Corrigan says she is a "Bain Sidhe", the harbinger of death. When she screams it means someone will die. He asks if they are all going to freak out and go their seperate ways or can they get back to work? Weaver wants to know where Szandor is first.
|Szandor is upset with God.|
Szandor: "Are you powerless to stop this mayhem? Or do you tolerate it? Do you enjoy it? If you exist... if you even exist at all."
At the Powers Corporation, Corrigan and Drake are being shown round by a Mr. Jenner. He says they are about to launch a product called the "Powerwatch" that will allow you to link everything up to the internet.
The problem is a ghost that appeared on Saturday and starting haunting the labs. One of his team leaders was found with a piece of human heart in his throat whichhe was choking on. It's appeared every night since. They ask Mr. Jenner if there have been any deaths there recently and Jenner reluctantly admits there was.
|The Powers Corp ghost.|
Back at Power Corp, they are shown a desk where an employee called George died of a stroke. It makes Corrigan's hand glo with Spectre power so something fishy has gone on here. Drake pokes around and her investigations are alternated with Szandor cutting the tip of a black flower off and it growing back. She eventually finds a baggie with a mystery powder and her narc sense goes off.
Then the clock starts bleeding and George appears, saying "WE NEED ALL HANDS". While Corrigan holds The Spectre back, Jenner admits it was the last thing he said to George, who was exhausted from overwork. He gave George some speed which killed him and he doctored the records so he wouldn't have to pay out to George's family.
|George the Ghost gets his way.|
They leave and in the car they discuss how the Power Corp knew about them. Corrigan says they are dangerous and word getting out about them could be a problem. Meanwhile back at Precinct 13, he lawyer Weaver hired - Kate Spencer - says I.A. are building a huge case against them, "someone high up has it in for you". It could be the police, may be a supervillain, at this point they just don't know.
We get a flashback to Weaver's past as a child where he found his father dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound. Then we come back to the present, Kate is telling him he should have called her three months ago, "they're hot to shut you down" she says. Weaver says Gordon always protected them before. Then Drake comes in saying they have a case. Five dead at least in the East End.
|Drake and Szandor on a new case.|
Corrigan is in Sister Justine quarters. He is experiencing tremendous guilt over her death and sits sadly on her bed and begs "God.. aw God.. have mercy on me please."
Weaver and Kate are talking. She says he's not the Weaver she knew from five years ago, "everything would be prepared. We'd be talking about plans of attack". She asks what exactly is it they do. They have zero arrests. Cases are quietly closed. They have funding but shady expense reports. Are they just a place for Gordon to bury tough cases?
Weaver: "We're fighting monsters Kate. We can't arrest them because they aren't human. We're fighting things that don't make any sense. Time and again, before they can destroy the whole frickin' city".
We then get a flashback to two years ago. A subdued and traumatised Weaver is in a meeting with Commissoner Gordon who believes that Weaver encountered a monster. So he is assigning him to Precinct 13.
|Gordon gives Weaver his new job.|
Rook and another I.A. colleague are interviewing a prisoner who says he saw Drake as a narc gun down three men in cold blood while another cop watched and said he'd help cover it up. He describes Corrigan and says he wants a deal.
In the East End, the Spectre is killing the demon spawn, which had claimed about fifty victims. When it's finally all gone, The Spectre departs.
|The Spectre in action.|
The next story is the Annual - "The Gentleman Ghost", art by Christian Duce. We begin with a man called CRaddock wooing a rich young woman called Eleanor who says "I would die for you". He kisses her once, then Drake and Corrigan kick the door down and try to arrest Craddock.
He makes his getaway and can travel through solid objects. Eleanor is distraught and Corrigan asks if she had a necklace. Craddock is a "ghost and a thief, he set you up for a robbery" says COrrigan. Drake corners Craddock and puts hex cuffs on him. He hands her the necklace and says "you could have me. If you really wanted me". Then he disappears.
Drake is in Eleanor's hospital room reminding herself she has a boyfriend and Craddock was messing with her head same as Eleanor. Back with Corrigan, Craddock reveals himself to him saying he is not a ghost. Corrigan notes his knife and gun and says he is not a gentleman either. He wants to know what Craddock wants with the Tears and what he did to Eleanor.
Craddock: "The first kiss steals the breath. The second gives it back. If you hadn't interrupted us..."
He tells Corrigan that he knows a lonely person when he sees one. How long it's been since he's been with someone. "Am I waking something up?" he asks as he holds Corrigans face saying that Corrigan is wondering "what would it be like?" Then he disappears again taking the neclace with him.
|Gentleman Ghost tries to seduce Corrigan.|
Craddock decides to tell them his story. He was cursed by a witch. She made a monster of him, "as long as she lived, I was her creature". When she died he thought he'd be free, but he remained undead. "There is no banishing me, no matter what you think. There is no cure".
The necklace belonged to the last woman he loved, the witches daughter who arranged to have them both killed. Then he sprouts spider like leg-claws out of his back and escapes onto the train roof with Drake in hot pursuit. While she and Craddock fight, Corrigan jumps off the train before he turns into The Spectre.
Craddock looks more monstrous as he fights Drake for the jewels. Then he changes back and tells her he gave her the necklace because maybe she reminded him of someone he loved. He kisses her, twice. Then The Spectre appears, he crushes the jewels and Craddock is disapated in a puff of smoke.
Drake waks Corrigan up saying The Spectre enacted Judgement. She says she didn't think Craddock deserved to die, but Corrigan says "forget it. He won't be back."
|The Spectre once again, deals with the issue at hand.|
Kate is meeting Rook clandestinely. Rook says he started chasing financial irregularities, now they have evidence of criminal negligence, conspiracy, brutality, maybe murder. He calls Corrigan a freak who nearly killed them all, "this goes to the Grand Jury".
|Rook meets with Kate.|
He arrives at the square where the riot broke out and Szandor is already there, saying the screens "almost fried my retinas on the residual energy output". Corrigan is floored by the psychic action which is coming from the broadcast itself.
Albright and Patterson's show had recently become very popular, but as they walk through the station to the studio they find everyone dead. Albright and Patterson are still arguing and Corrigan starts to glow. Szandor pushes him into a lift and goes to face the pair alone.
Rook is being overwhelmed by the amount of evidence his partner, Cashmiro is supplying him with against The Midnight Shift. "It's coming too fast, like it was waiting to happen" he says. He thinks they are being manipulated, he smells a setup.
Rook: "We gotta be careful here. We gotta check our motives, make sure we're clear".
Casimiro inists The Midnight Shift are killers as Szandor approaches the two arguing pundits. A rage overcomes him and he attacks them just as the woman kills the man, they are revealed to be a mess of tentacled flesh below the waist and joined together. The woman is relieved then quickly dies herself.
|If only all pundits were this obviously evil.|
Szandor points out the Black Flowers have bloomed around Corrigan not the monster in the studio. It is significant because he now realises the blossoms are "a warning, and I am beginning to get the message".
They drive back to Precinct 13 with Corrigan reiterating no one can save Gotham the way they can. Waiting for them are Rook and Casimiro. Casimiro serves a warrant on them saying they are going to search the offices and his car and says gleefully to him, "we're going to eat you alive".
Jim Corrigan is put in an interrogation cell and under observation by Casimiro and a cop called Palmer. They discusss how he was shot one day and declared D.O.A but walked into work the next day "fresh as a daisy" saying God saved him. He got set up with Gordon's Detailed Task Force and he starts racking up the corpses. They go in to interview him and Corrigan dissects their interview technique saying "I've been a cop for a while".
|The Midnight Shift get interrogated.|
Corrigan is quizzed over several deaths, and as they are mentioned Corrigan remembers The Spectre killing them. He says "none of this was me". At Precinct 13 Szandor is excitedly talking about the Black Flowers. They weren't caused by Ikkondrid, they aren't provoking events. "They are marking them for our benefit. They are a signal" he says.
We return to Drake who is being asked if she is afraid of Corrigan which she finds hilarious. Then her mood changes and she says quietly, "get them out. Get everyone out of here right now. Something terrible is about to happen". Black flowers start blooming in the interrogations cells. Szandor says they are a langauge from someone trying to communicate with them
|Drake realises someone is gonna die.|
Casimiro: "The Joker's killed more than two hundred people. Why doesn't The Spectre judge him? Why doesn't The Spectre just go to Arkham and clear it out?"
Corrigan says he doesn't know, it's "God's choice". Casimiro says it's because the cases are personal to him. He gets the rage and he lets it out. They want him to confess and he'll be confined to a super-max prison where he can't hurt anyone. Or they'll prosecute Drake for multiple murder, send Szandor to Arkham and disgrace Weaver.
Drake lets out her banshee scream while Corrigan gets angry about the threats to his colleagues. The Spectre manifests and the two cops explode in a shower of gore. Corrigan manages to whisper that they weren't sinners, did God want this?
The Spectre: "You wanted it. It is you. I was always you."
And he disappears again, leaving Corrigan alone, soaked in blood while outside people hammer on the door.
|This might be hard to explain away.|
Szandor is outside at the spot where Sister Justine died, he has an "irrational theory" that she is reaching out from beyond the grave using the Black Flowers, "or there is nothing and I only miss my dear friend". He sees two children carrying candles and singing a song about Black Flowers. He follows them to a shrine to Sister Justine.
|The Nun Of The Narrows.|
Corrigan tells Drake he was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Corrigan: "God spoke to me. Said I would live again. Said I would be the vessel of Judgement. That I would carry The Spectre and he would storm forth."
But The Spectre has been doing what Corrigan wanted. Drake is appalled, "if what you're saying is true, you really are a monster." He says the Midnight Shift protects the city from monsters. He's not going to let anybody stop them. Drake yells what if he's just a "psycho ghost". Corrigan says she knows what's out there ready to feed on Gotham if they let it.
Szandor is kneeling at the shrine to "The Nun of the Narrows". He leaves an offering, a Black Flower in a jar. One of the kids says it's her flower and maybe he'll see her tonight. He asks to be taken where she has manifested, but when they get there the kid tells him to take his goggles off and have respect and beleive. And he does so and sees, something...
The police car chase shifts into high speed as Corrigan and Drake argue they plow through the wall of a raised part of the motorway and plunge downwards, as they do so, The Spectre manifests. The rest of the cops sweep the crash area and can't find anyone and declare "good riddance" to the Midnight Shift. Then out of Slaughter Swamp rises Ikkondrid.
At Precinct 13, Rook, Weaver and Kate are fending off the walking dead. Rook wants to know what the hell is going on.
Weaver: "Ten minutes ago you're calling me and my taskforce frauds. This is what we're here for Rook!"
Elsewhere at Gotham PC the cops are also fighting the dead. Commissioner Batman arrives on the scene and says "we need Precinct 13. This is what Corrigan and his people are prepared for."
|Commissioner Batman is not amused.|
Sawyer: "I don't know. But being dead didn't stop Corrigan before right?"
And The Spectre comes bursting up through the road like the Wrath of God. Drake also appears holding Corrigan up. As the cops pull back and The Spectre starts dealing with the monsters. Ikkondrid and The Spectre clash, but something is wrong. The sheer number of unjust deaths in Gotham is overwhelming Corrigan, including his own death and The Spectre starts speaking the "ghost language" of Ikkondrid and starts to lash out indiscriminately.
Drake pleads with Corrigan saying now he knows he reacts to Corrigan's subconcious he can control him, stop the devastation. She slaps him hard saying "own it you son of a bitch". The Spectre looks down at her an seems about to attack her when a huge radiant woman, Sister Justine it seems, rises up and faces down The Spectre and says to him "Stop. In Heaven's Name."
Justine: "Spectre. You are not Ikkondrid's creature. Unbind yourself from the monsters will while Gotham lives. You are not its agent here."
The Spectre starts speaking english again but says the blood of the wicked calls to him, "you shall not stay my hand!"
Corrigan manages to get her to wait, he and The Spectre are both angry but Justine is doing something. Ikkondrid is back because a truce was broken.
Corrigan: "We failed. We didn't keep our end up. We failed to deliver justice."
He tries to figure out what that justice is. Drake says that is being killed by their ancestors, Gotham's unjust dead going to make it happy? Up in the sky, The Spectre says to Justine, "I rebuke you!"
Justine: "Your power is my power. It isn't the wicked who call to us. It's the suffering like you Jim Corrigan. I am the Redeemer."
She says The Spectre needed a soul to guide it, but Corrigan's was consumed with guilt, despair, with responsibility but without faith. Corrigan thinks harder, "Ikkondrid came back because it was unsatisfied".
|The undead set upon Drake.|
Drake: "The world is unfair Corrigan! We are stupid and helpless and we hurt each other all the time! What does it want that we can give it?"
Justine cups The Spectre's face as Ikkondrid watches carefully. Corrigan starts to cry and says:
Corrigan: "It wants us to know it... It wants us to care."
The Spectre says the city is sick and can't be cured. Justine asks him what do you do with the sick? "You comfort them" says The Spectre and places his hand on Ikkondrid. Corrigan calls to The Spectre, "forgive me! Forgive us!" And Justine and The Spectre rise into the air as he says they can't keep going on holding onto the pain and lashing out.
|All the supernatural beings come to an agreement.|
The Spectre: "Gotham. The unjust dead will not be forgotten."
Justine: "And your pain will not be ignored."
The Spectre: "They have been moved into your hearts".
Justine: "You will remember them in your quiet moments"
The Spectre: "You will remember them in your dreams."
Justine: "And you will know that none of you are alone".
The Spectre: "You are not alone."
The Spectre and Justine disapate and The Spectre returns to Corrigan while Justine releases Szandor, who staggers over to meet up with Corrigan and Drake. Sun rises in Gotham City and Corrigan says, "I think we did some good."
|A new days dawns for Gotham City.|
Juan Ferreyra was an adequate replacement for Ben Templesmith, his painted artwork depicting gruesome monsters, the vengeful Spectre and the ordinary people will consumate skill. There was so much unrealised potential in this set-up, The X-Files of the Gotham PD that it's hard to forgive it being given the chop. It used religion with respect and made The Spectre a truly awesome prescence for the first time in an age. It gave us a cast of likeable characters who spoke like normal people and figured things out without rushing in and punching stuff. It was a grown up take on the Bat-verse that had appeal to readers interested in the Gotham setting but perhaps not as interested in Batman. I wish it had found it's niche and that DC was willing to accept lower selling titles as the price of offering diversity of choice. But alas, that's the demise of the DCYou in a nutshell. For shame.