Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: Gotham Academy Second Semester #1

By Jerry Montgomery
September 14, 2016

Gotham Academy Second Semester #1
“Welcome Back to Gotham Academy”

Story by: Brenden Fletcher, Becky Clooney and Karl Kerschl
Scripture by: Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
Pencils by: Adam Archer
Background Painting by: Msassyk

When I first opened this book, I was really struck by the artwork. Painted backgrounds  like a well-made cartoon with the characters drawn over them, resembling individual cels. Very beautiful and interesting to see and read. Don’t be fooled by the title, however, this isn’t your typical superhero comic book.  You immediately think bat when you see the word Gotham, but you won’t see any dark and brooding cowled figures here. This is the second volume of Gotham Academy, the first printed in 2014 which featured the same main character and her friends.

This story focuses on young Olive Silverlock, a student at Gotham Academy and daughter of the Gotham villainess,  Calamity. Classes are between semesters and she is the only student that has not gone home for the holiday break. At opening, her only companion is a teacher at the Academy,  Professor Isla Macpherson, who has stayed on to keep Olive company. The professor makes plans to spend the next day with Olive but cancels later that evening, leaving her all alone once again.  When Olive returns to her dorm room, she meets Amy, new student and rebellious teen, sent to Gotham by her uncle. She’s loud, brash and intrusive but Olive seems intrigued by the new girl.

Olive and Amy become fast friends and venture out into the cold to explore the deserted school grounds. Amy convinces Olive that people “suck” and encourages her to get a little payback for being stood up by Professor Macpherson and in doing so, come across a set of small footprints in the snow. The real adventure begins for the two and , leads them to the on-campus Wedgewood mansion, now a museum. Amy has no fear tearing through the old place, even vandalizing some of it's contents, much to the chagrin of Olive. Add in a spooky atmosphere, slamming doors, secret passages and weird symbols that serve as clues about a man named Arkham and you’ve got a mystery worthy of any Scooby-phIle! In the end, OlIve must unexpectedly chance getting caught and expelled in order to save a life, when Amy’s brashness turns to cruelty.

The Verdict: If you are looking for a comic in a different vein than the typical superhero title, look no further! I love the feel of this book…it is like an animated show told through still images. The painted backgrounds are great and the characters have a manga-esque look. The story is interesting and fresh and has the potential to be a great title. Reading Second Semester has made me want to go find back issues of the first round of books. I can’t say enough about this book…only that if you’re looking for something different, give thus one a try!

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