Written by: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Art by: Karl Kerschl with Msassyk
Cover price: $2.99
Release date: December 2nd, 2015
*Spoilers ahead, Summary and score at the bottom*
After a month delay, Gotham Academy returns to finish it's second story arc. This book now has a complete twelve issues under it's belt and has been a whole bunch of fun. While the second arc had the Detective Club doing a lot of cool things including hunting wolves, and washing away Clayface, this arc felt like nothing really happened and the story barely moved foreword.
In the previous issue, The detective club was in Gotham City trying to uncover more secrets about Olive's mother and Kyle was kidnapped by someone unknown at the end of the issue. This picks up at the Academy with Maps and Olive knowing they have to go to Arkham Asylum. They use Clayface's daughter as a decoy for Maps and she goes home in her place. The girls are waiting and Colton drives up in a sweet car,which I am assuming is headmaster Hammer's car since the license plate said "Hammr1" (Note from Jim: At least it didn't say "So Cool"!) This was all pretty entertaining to watch.
The kids go to Arkham Asylum, which has been abandoned because of Batman stuff. They are lurking about, trying to find Kyle and then Olive is drawn by the presence of her mother. This is when we discover the truth of what is happening with Olive. It is professor Strange that has been dressing up like Calamity and messing with Olive to hopefully uncover the truth of the real Calamity and the Silverlock bloodline. Olive goes bananas with fire and we do not see what happens next. The kids escape having found Kyle and return to the Academy waiting for their next adventure. When Olive returns she is relieved to know more about her family and who she is. She is finally happy, even if it is just for a moment and I for one am happy about that.
This book is very enjoyable for what it is, a fun mystery that anyone can pick up and enjoy. I do feel like the book has lost a little of it's charm as it's progressed. Maps is still the best character by far, but Olive has finally gotten some solid development as well. Pomeline is still a "see you next Tuesday" girl without any regard for other people and Colton is still just some guy with toys (Another Note from Jim: Sounds like Eric!) I wish we got more into these characters instead of trying to focus on Olive, but even then, her story was just a continuous cliffhanger with no real follow up from one issue to the next.
This arc felt really rushed with every issue dealing with some new monster and solving the mystery right away. Maybe they had to hurry up with Robin War coming up, but it still does not answer the delay last month. I Still enjoyed the book, but I honestly feel like this book is being held back, whether it is the actual creators or the editors.
I did not enjoy the climax of this arc as far as Hugo Strange went since we do not really know what happened to him. We now know he was the one behind Calamity's "appearance" and we then see Olive getting upset with him and then a fire started. Did Olive toss Strange out the window? Is this her first step into becoming a villain like the rest of her family? We just don't know, but I really hope we get answers going forward and I mean fast. Maybe Olive will become a villain while Maps becomes a Robin and they duke it out. Now that would be fun to see and heartbreaking all rolled into one.
Sad news about this issue...it is Karl Kerschl's last issue on Gotham Academy. This has always been the biggest draw of this book for myself. The art just perfectly captures the tone and mystery of the story. It is always dark, but not scary. He will be missed on this book and his absence will be noticed. This issue, however, was great to look at as always. Kerschl always knocks the art side of this book out of the park.
Bits and Pieces:
The second arc of Gotham Academy wraps up, while this whole arc felt rushed, I still had a lot of fun with this series. While we got very few answers, there are still a lot of questions going forward. Our detective club is still intact, but for how long? The characters are still great and the art is the biggest draw. Gotham Academy is still a great book for any reader and if you love Gotham (not the show) you should pick this series up.