Gotham City has always been creepy, and Steve Orlando’s work in the setting really leans into its monstrous qualities. Orlando’s time in Gotham started with the “Night Of The Monster Men” crossover, where the Bat-family faced off against grotesque beasties, but the monsters are the heroes in Orlando’s latest title, Gotham City Monsters. Featuring art by Amancay Nahuelpan, colorist Trish Mulvihill, and letterer Tom Napolitano, this six-issue miniseries unites Frankenstein, Killer Croc, Orca, Lady Clay, and the vampire Andrew Bennett in a fight against a multiversal threat, giving readers an intriguing assortment of characters with their own horrific pasts.
Orlando has always shown an affinity for Grant Morrison’s work in his DC writing, and Gotham City Monsters brings back one of the main villains of Morrison’s Seven Soldiers epic to terrorize Gotham on his path to total domination: Melmoth, the time-traveling despot and archnemesis of Frankenstein. This exclusive preview of this week’s Gotham City Monsters #2 shows a new character joining the fight against the newly revived Melmoth as the Red Phantom explodes onto the scene. Little is known about this mysterious demon character, but his debut makes a big impression thanks to the bold, expressive artwork.
As the Red Phantom breaks from his glass prison, Amancay makes the panel borders thicker and messier, transforming the visuals with the character’s chaotic energy. When the action breaks out, the panels become more dynamic with diagonal borders and overlapping corners, and Mulvihill embraces a vibrant palette of blue, green, purple, and pink to distinguish the superhero action from the more atmospheric horror elements of the books. Frankenstein and Andrew Bennett dropping down from the skylight is particularly impressive, using the glowing crystal shards of the chandelier above them as speed lines that increase their momentum. It’s a dramatic image full of attitude, capturing the cool factor of this unlikely group of heroes.