Diving deeper into the underbelly of Gotham City, DC Comics Gotham City Monsters #1 explores the uneasy corner known as Monster City, with dusky shades of light, and grotesque monsters to boot.
With the events in DC Comics’ Event Leviathan, monster hunting organization S.H.A.D.E. has dissolved, thus leaving Frankenstein without a job. That is until Frankenstein’s past mentor Melmoth makes his return, killing those close to the team of monsters and others in Monster City, setting up an unexpected team of characters.
A Monster Tale
Gotham City Monster’s core ‘hero’ characters consists of Frankenstein, Andrew Bennett (I, Vampire), Orca, Killer Croc, and Lady Clayface. As this is the first issue, Steve Orlando spends it setting up the stakes and reasons why this unlikely team would band together. Using more than one issue to set up the team is a nice change of pace with a team-up (mini) series, as in some cases the teaming can feel unnatural, or make no sense story wise. Orlando has each character go through a tragedy of some kind, thus setting up the future formation of the team.
With only two of the characters meeting so far (Frankenstien/Andrew Bennet), Orlando showcases just how much of an uneasy alliance this team-up will be with a grotesque, gore-filled splash page. Even though it was only one instance in Gotham City Monsters #1, this sentiment works greatly, showing this band of monsters won’t get along, but must in order to deal with the threat to Monster City/The Multiverse. As the saying goes, mess with one monster in Monster City, mess with them all. Or something akin to that.
Monster City Graffiti
With Gotham City Monsters #1 taking place in the underbelly of a city as corrupt and unlawful as Gotham is, the art should match the tone of ‘not wanting to visit said town’. Amancay Nahuelpan’s art exudes these themes magnificently. With each monster introduced, Nahuelpan seems to put on a new spin or disgusting appearance that makes you want to steer clear of vacationing here. Nahuelpan’s architecture for work perfectly for the Gothic themes of the city, while drawing the few locations seen in Monster City as broken down, amplifying the sense that no one cares for this city.
Taking the uneasiness feeling of Nahuelpan’s art one step further is the gritty coloring of Trish Mulvihill. The colorist has worked on Batman titles before, and this background shows in Gotham City Monsters #1. Understanding how dark and dirty the colors should look in Gotham, Mulvihill gives Nahuelpan’s pencils a great boost in that unsettling feeling. But her use of colors aren’t just limited to darks, as she uses bright vivid colors in contrast to make moments come to life.
On the lettering side, Tom Napolitano changes the font styles and dialogue balloons for each monster, helping each characters’ dialogue stand out, while giving each one a distinct voice.
Gotham City Monsters Unite (Conclusion)
Although it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and it may only be for a niche group of superhero comics readers, Gotham City Monsters #1 is a good first issue that introduces the reader to Monster City while leaving breadcrumbs for the inevitable team-up. This easy to access first issue is benefited by the grotesque art and grim color scheme. The few moments heavy with gore and violence may not be for everyone, but for those that love horror in their superhero comics Gotham City Monsters #1 is worth checking out!
Memorable Quote: “Only a fool would cry for life to a dead man.” – Frankenstein
Yeah, that moment was insanely bad ass.
Dear Human Readers
Did you visit Monster City? If so let us know what you think!