Thursday, September 27, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Gotham Academy #1 Review (2014)



Head of the Class

Written by: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Art by: Karl Kerschl
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 1, 2014

I really am at a loss on how to start this review. I'm a grown man with five boys and here I am lying down and reading Gotham Academy, feet up behind me, giggling to myself and wishing I was a student in the book. Please, let me enroll now! I know that this book will draw lots of comparisons to Harry Potter and for good reason...it's so magical. I may not be the target age, but I don't care. I'm in. DC, I'll forgive you for the Futures End Event and any other misstep if you keep giving us books like this.


Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher start by introducing us to Maps and Olive, the two leads.  After one page, I know them better than most characters I read and I simply fell in love with them.  Olive is a second-year student and narrator of the book.  She's at Gotham Academy on scholarship, but is sullen, moody and...a typical teenager.  Maps, on the other hand, is energetic and optimistic as any first-year student can be and is awesome.  Move over Nightwing, I may have found a new favorite character.  That may sound crazy, but Maps is always prepared, plays pen and pencil role-playing games and is as cute as a button. 

There is another character looming big in this book...Gotham Academy itself.  Like Hogwarts (sorry to keep bringing up HP), the school is not just a setting, but something more.  It's beautiful, but mystery seems to lurk in every nook and cranny.  In fact, the early plot of this book centers around the rumor that the North Hall is haunted by a ghost or something even more sinister.  By the end, you may believe it yourself.

There are also a handful of side characters I'm looking forward to getting to know.  Headmaster Hammer ("Hammerhead"), students and teachers are all there for Cloonan and Fletcher to introduce and flesh out.  And then there is Bruce Wayne.  It looks like he's going to be more involved than I thought and has already taken interest in Olive.  Maybe she (or Maps) can become the next Robin?!?!

The only thing I wonder about this book is how it fits into the rest of the New 52.  Yes, Bruce is there, but it seems to reside somewhere outside the grim and gritty books I'm reading.  Yes, that is a big part of its charm, but it still makes me wonder.

I don't have to wonder at all about Karl Kerschl's art because I love it.  It's so well done and fits the story being told more than any other book I am reading right now.



I know that a lot of people will pass on this book because it looks too "childish" or "girlie".  Please don't make that mistake.  Sure, if you have young ones, they'll love it, but anyone can enjoy this book, even a grown man with five boys.  Trust me.

Bits and Pieces:

I know it may sound like I'm gushing about this book, but I already love it.  The characters, setting, and art are so magical that anyone that reads will surely join me.  I wonder where it fits in the grand scheme of the New 52, but for now, I'm having too much fun to care. It's a pleasant surprise to me, but this book has jumped to the top of my pull list.

9.7/10

3 comments:

Ruben said...

I was always interested in this book. Did it ultimately turn in to a rewarding run?

Reggie Hemingway said...

It had a very disappointing ending. It came back for a "second semester" at the beginning of the DCYou, I believe? Anyway, that whole semester was garbage.

Jim Werner said...

the first trade is great