Gotham Academy #2 (Comics Review)

While the many Bat-books over the last 75 years or so have done much to explore the younger generation of Gotham, we haven’t really seen the more… civilian side of things. The normal kids of Gotham who get caught up in the various mysteries of this city. That’s where last month’s debut Gotham Academy comes in. Written by Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan, this new series looks at a young female lead at a (possibly) haunted boarding school in Gotham, and the slivers of mystery and character offered up in the first issue were good enough for me to come back for more this month.

Gotham Academy #2 continues to explore who Olive Silverlock is and what happened to her in the summer that caused her to forget it all and even led to her having strained relationships with her boyfriend Kyle and his sister Maps. Not to mention the hazing she gets at the school from some of the other characters. This is quite a wonderful teen-oriented book, with actual teen characters no less, and it offers up some interesting stuff about life at the so-called Gotham Academy. The writing is good, if not really excellent, but the art definitely takes the top marks.

Despite some initial misplaced reservations, I had a blast last month with Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher’s Gotham Academy #1. It was a fun new title that explored something completely different from the rest of the DC universe and it focused on two young girls at a Gotham elite boarding school. How much fun is that? The execution turned out to be better than the previews hinted at and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of the month. But then again, this be the second issue now and it looks like the layered narrative is still forging ahead at full speed, which is no bad thing.

The mystery of what happened to Olive Silverlock over the summer break deepened in this issue, creating a deeper mystery than I expected. I didn’t like that the writers tiptoed around the whole thing so much here and that we didn’t get a single clue as to the “what” other than it was something really bad that Olive can’t speak to her boyfriend Kyle or his sister Maps about. That is frustrating in a big way, but thankfully, the writers also present some alternatives that hold up much better. Such as the fact that Pomeline Fritch and her friends are up to no good and are part of some amateur Bat-cult with some dark overtones.

I really liked Olive and Maps this issue. The characterisation is very consistent and there wasn’t a single moment where I went “WTF is this?” in this issue. It is pretty smooth sailing for the most part and I liked Olive when she stood up to the bullies, both early on in the story and later in the climax as well. Sure, the book is still couched in teenage sensibilities and vibes so it doesn’t get too dark or depressing or anything, but that doesn’t mean that the writers can’t tell a complex story.

And that’s what Gotham Academy seems to be all about. It is a complex story involving a young girl who is suffering from partial amnesia, who is partly bullied at school and who has few friends that she actually cares about. It was also nice to see some of the older characters take a more mentorly role in the issue, such as Professor MacPherson. Schools are about students being mentored by their teachers and that’s what a large part of this issue is really about I think, that mentorship.

As before, Karl Kerschl is the artist here with Geyser and Dave McCaig on colours with John Rauch contributing, and the letters by Steve Wands while Karl does the cover, and an excellent one it is too. The art in this issue is as good as it was in the previous issue, if not better, and the artists use the muted colour palettes to great effect to get across the whole gothic vibe of the setting and the school, which just might be haunted. And the final page with Olive is a damn head-turner. Excellent work all around.

Hopefully next time we get to see what happened to Olive in the summer and what happened with her mom!

Rating: 9/10

More Gotham Academy: #1.


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