Rating: 5/5 – Delightful Mix of Runaways, Hogwarts and Morning Glories.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Gabe Bustamantez.
Gotham Academy is a very old learning establishment. The buildings hold many stories deep within its prestigious campus. A campus with a rich history, after all it is funded by the Wayne Foundation and Bruce Wayne is amongst the alumni. Already, we can tell there is something not quite right with this higher learning institution as we are taken on a journey through the halls of this school. A school that is a character filled with mystery, intrigue, teenage woe, boy troubles, and strange happenings that fill every corridor.
We are introduced to “Maps,” a first year student on her first day of school. Maps is a naive and impressionable girl who makes maps and is paired up with Olive Silverlock a second year student at Gotham Academy who serves as Maps’ guide to Gotham Academy. We also meet faculty members, students, the inevitable school bullies and a class curriculum that includes lessons on Gotham’s tragic history.
Right away we are given solid footing on what to expect out of this comic book and future issues. This book will be thick with awkward teenage angst and high school drama, but also adventures and mysteries that will allow readers to explore more of the dark, corrupt and somehow romantic Gotham City. Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher have written an incredibly warm story about two charming young girls that I hope we get to spend a lot more time with while enjoying their wild adventures and watching the growth of their characters. Using the character Maps as our guide Karl Kerschl provides a beautifully rendered two-page map that depicts all of the school including class rooms, dorms and labs while at the same time introducing us to many more of the characters that will play roles in the series. Karl Kerschl’s art comes across like Disney feature animation with a touch of manga flare. Perfect storytelling, characters that needed to be creepy looked and felt creepy before you read a single line of dialogue and the surroundings of Gotham Academy were brought to life for me. Every student has their own look and style and you can instantly tell who hates who.
Gotham Academy is my favorite first issue from DC Comics in recent memory. It is a completely different type of comic book from anything else I’m reading, and we were given a finely tuned and polished story. This issue was an absolute pleasure to read. Every element of the story, from those stated outright to those that were just hinted and teased at, seemed to be given to us on purpose and with intent, with each hint or clue leading to more questions. Is the North Wing haunted? Why is Olive terrified of Batman? What’s the connection between Olive and Bruce Wayne? No story time was wasted. Lots of questions are provided to keep me coming back for answers. This is a series that I won’t be missing.
Reviewed by: Gabe Bustamantez
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