Gotham Academy #3 Review

Written by: Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher

Art by: Karl Kerschl

Publisher: DC

So far, I’ve found Gotham Academy to be one of the most charming books DC have put out in quite a long time. So much of their line (and a lot of comics in general) seems to be focused on grim and gritty stories with edgy anti-heroes that it’s really refreshing to have such an innocent book that reads like those high school dramas you know we all used to watch as kids. It’s a really innocent, at times nostalgic book that, while not for everyone, has caught me hook line and sinker.

A huge part of the charm factor of this book is the absolutely gorgeous art by Kerschl; it has so much personality and style and every time I pick up this book I feel like I’m returning to a familiar place. So much of the character’s personalities come across through the art making each feel memorable and not interchangeable. The layout of the panels even look very cool and unique at times, it takes another step towards given the book a style all of its own and give the actual Gotham Academy so much personality and character. The colousits Geyser and Mysassyn both do an absolutely fantastic job and push the art that extra mile into excellence territory. It’s incredibly versatile and keeps the art style looking fresh, fun and varied. The book is absolutely beautiful and I applaud DC for allowing such an unusual style on one of their mainstream books (a Batman book no less).

The story crafted by Cloonan and Flether is likewise very charming although it definitely will not be to everyone’s tastes and certainly has a specific audience in mind. There’s a lot of teenage drama involved in this book, particularly a scene involving Olive and her maybe-ex-boyfriend Kyle that is sure to have some of the more jaded comic readers eyerolling and making “twilight” references. I however really liked these sections and the romantic element as a whole; it’s written in a very relatable way and with only three issues I’ve already really grown to like Olive and therefore care about the drama and her situation. I feel it’s important DC have a book like this that can appeal to other tastes, it shows their versatility and gives the reader choices. While it could be said that a lot of the other character’s personalities are a little generic, they’re at least really well done and it adds to the book’s simple charms.

For anyone who’s not a fan of romance or teenage drama, there are actually quite a lot of surprising gothic elements in the book with a lot of supernatural horror and Batman lore woven in. The later part worried me as I’m really not a Batman fan, but it works well in the context in the book and doesn’t step on the toes of the series’ creative style. It all just works together really well mixing the two genres to make a really unique experience that I’m a huge fan of.

Overall, this series definitely isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and you’ll most likely know whether or not this book is for you. If you’re curious though, I recommend it 100%; I’m absolutely in love with this book and may even be willing to call it my favourite book DC are publishing.