Gotham Academy 1 Review

Posted October 8, 2014 by Henry Varona in Comic Books

Written by: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher

Art by: Karl Kerschl

Publisher: DC Comics

Gotham Academy is the Batman book that you never asked for. It’s the book about characters you’ve never heard of in an environment you were never seeking out. It is unexpected and childish, completely separate from the rest of the Batman books. And because of all these reasons, it’s the Batman book we desperately needed. I love DC, but if there is one thing there is too much of, it’s angsty Batman titles. So it’s refreshing and engaging to see a book under the Bat-umbrella that is willing to have fun and look at the world with a sense of wonder.

Our book centers around a high school sophomore at Gotham Academy named Olive Silverlock, who has been summoned by the school’s headmaster. She has been assigned to serve as a nanny to freshmen Maps Mizoguchi, the younger sister of her sorta-boyfriend, Kyle. The two go through the day, facing off against popular kids, boring teachers, and the worst… assemblies. At the end of the day, friendship and determination save the day, as Olive proves that she’s pretty awesome, and she’s going to kick school’s butt!

I know what you’re thinking. What I just described couldn’t possibly be a Batman comic book. It sounds way too much like something a middle-schooler would come up with if they wrote comics. That’s one of the best parts about the entire thing. Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher create a book that is unlike anything else from DC Comics. It’s fun and whimsy, clearly aiming towards a younger (And largely female) demographic. In doing so, it scratches an itch that no other DC book has in quite some time. Olive is an endearing lead, plagued not by some horrible back story and passion towards crime fighting, but rather a need to be accepted and make it through the day. A lot of readers will immediately identify with the young lady, and I think that this is exactly the kick that DC needed. Where other books focus on grim and gritty, Gotham Academy shows you that there is great worth in having fun.

I’ll admit that when I saw the first cover to the series, I wasn’t sold. Karl Kerschl has impressed me in the past with his work on Wednesday Comics and Teen Titans: Year One, but I was a little turned off. And then I opened the book. His distinct style sells this entire book, immediately pulling you into the world that Cloonan and Fletcher craft. He makes it feel one part Hogwarts, two parts Wayne Manor. This balance plays off of the character designs, which are fresh and preppy. a perfect aesthetic that is key to understanding this book. Where I was scared away by the cover, I can flip through the book and immediately fall in love with his work.

But what I think is most impressive about Gotham Academy is that made readers out of my friends who are either casually into comics or turned off by DC titles. The ability to grab new readers is incredible, and I have to applaud DC for giving this title a shot. I really hope that it’s audience, which certainly exists, goes out to by this book. With a very capable creative team that has not proven successful in the past, it’s anybody’s guess where this title goes. But I know that based on the first issue, I will definitely be following it.

About the Author

Henry Varona

Lover of comics, Legos, and movies, Henry Varona is supremely awesome in every way. He spends his days designing his own comics, and his nights dreaming about Chris Hemsworth and Captain Cold.