GOTHAM CITY MONSTERS #1 / AUTHOR: STEVE ORLANDO / ARTIST: AMANCAY NAHUELPAN / PUBLISHER: DC COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
There’s always been an interesting intersection between horror stories and super/heroes. All it takes for something like Batman or Superman to become a tale of terror is a change of perspective, so you can see how a hero book filled with monsters is an obvious step. DC has done this many times, most recently with Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. This was a mix of super-spy drama with supernatural conspiracy, and it was a refreshing change from the more serious horror tales DC produces.
Gotham City Monsters offers a new take on the same premise. The focus of the book is yet again the monstrous Frankenstein (yes, that’s his name and yes, he’s a monster made by Doctor Frankenstein. It’s fiction, you can do that). Issue number one sets up the premise of the series; the monsters have settled in a corner of Gotham city called Monster Town. It’s got ruined churches, the bones of a huge monster sticking out of the middle of a collapsed building site and more gargoyles per square foot than anywhere else in the city.
The first issue gives us a quick overview of the various characters. We meet Andrew Bennet (AKA the vampire in the I Vampire comics), who’s getting up to the usual nonsense with another bunch of vampires and beating up some obvious villains. Bennet is hot on the trail of a mysterious master who is building his own cult. We meet Frankenstein, beating up weird-looking creatures in a bar and taking out some horrible thing. We also catch up with Killer Croc, who is apparently now reformed having served his time with the Suicide Squad. Alas, no one will give Croc a job and things are looking rough for him. We also meet with Orca, who is basically a whale version of the creature from the Black Lagoon and are introduced to Lady Clay, a shapeshifting lump of clay who can fly somehow.
The story is quite absurd and it seems the pattern is going to be weird encounters followed by lots of fighting. A superhero book in all but name. The art is lovely and appropriately gothic, the lettering is clear and the story hangs together well. It’s fun and a little bit silly. This is not a terribly promising start to what will almost certainly be a run of the mill series. We doubt this will become a Hollywood movie any time soon, but you never know.