Saturday, April 15, 2017

Comic Book Review: Gotham Academy Second Semester #8

By: Jerry Montgomery
April 12, 2016

Gotham Academy Second Semester #8
“Second Semester, Finale”

Written by: Brenden Fletcher
Artwork by: Adam Archer and Msassyk

Olive Silverlock had a friend named Amy. She was there for her every step of the way since the winter break. She was always there for Olive, always chirping in her ear. She was wild, brash, uninhibited and anything but a good influence. She broke into buildings,  vandalized property and even put another student into a medical emergency. She disliked the adults, even hated school benefactor, Bruce Wayne. Yes, she was always there for Olive, every step of the way, telling her what to do. The only problem? She never existed.

Olive Silverlock is crazy.  Become crazy like her mother. Just like they said she would…or is she? Is it something else? Maybe the key lay elsewhere deep below Gotham Academy, beneath it’s dusty catacombs, down into the caverns that the city rests on. Fellow students Colton Rivera and Pomeline Fritch , who have been seeking the fabled Book of Old Gotham,  find the dusty old tome and upon reading from it, discover that Olive is not a Silverlock at all, but an Arkham.  They also discover that the mysterious Arkham mark (a sort of double”A” symbol) built into many of the campus buildings is that of Amity Arkham.  Before they can decipher any more of the book, Mister Scarlet, the school librarian and self professed “bookaphile” renders them unconscious and takes the book, believing he is the only one to understand it’s contents and care of it. Meanwhile, a confused Olive searches for the only person she felt she could confide in and seek comfort, Professor Macpherson. Making her way to the stables, she finds her…and Batman. If you know Olive Silverlock,  you know she hates the Batman. All hell is about to break loose…

Issue #8 picks up immediately as an enraged Olive’s pyrokinesis develops its full
potential and the reveal from last issue reaches its potential as well. Could it be that Olive isn’t crazy but maysomething else entirely? Say, has anybody seen the movie, “The Exorcist “?  It’s all explained in a well timed flashback that takes things waaaay back to the beginnings of the city of Gotham. A history of the founding Puritan  fathers and the terrible deed which they inflicted upon the name of Arkham, resulting in a curse upon the city and its prominent citizens hundred of years later. Cobblepot, Hill, Dent, Beaumont, Kane, Lestrange, Kyle, Grissom, Wayne. All there, all guilty and now it looks as though the namesake of Arkham will have her revenge in fiery retribution. Its made clear that within the book lies the key to Olive’s salvation or damnation. Is she strong enough to resist a possible fate that befell her mother or will she embrace the anger? Even if Batman can save Gotham Academy, faculty and it’s students from an out of control demonic Olive, will he be able to save the city itself?

The Verdict: This issue seems to have it all. Batman, witchcraft , gothic horror and the Detective Club. Why, we even get a reference to The Lord of the Rings  and a little H. P. Lovecraft as well. This story is really coming to an explosive ending. Yes, you heard right. It seems this story arc will finish up this title, which stinks because I have  really enjoyed the premise of it. Then again, I was always left wondering how long Gotham Academy could last since it was confined to  the school’s buildings and grounds. Although there’s still the question of whose skeleton in the jester’s costume (or is it a harlequin’s?) rested next to the Book of Old Gotham.  I love the artwork. It really enhances the writing of Brenden Fletcher and its not hard for me to imagine the this title as an animated one. Each panel looks as though it is an animated cel. If you want a different look at Gotham City, this is your book.  Although it features high-school aged kids, the themes presented are adult oriented, particularly the occultism that lies just below the surface of this issue and many previous ones. If you like spooky mystery and a different take on Gotham City, this issue is for you!

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