Gotham Academy #6 “Pizza Club”
Written by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Art by Karl Kerschl and Mingue Helen Chen
Colors by Msassyk, Serge LaPointe, and Mingue Helen Chen

I absolutely adore this book! It’s light hearted and fun, but at the same time, there’s a respectful amount of depth found in each character. I know I’ve said this before, but it amazes me that this book just continues to get better and better, while also becoming more and more relevant in Gotham. It really is a gem, and I would definitely be singing Gotham Academy‘s praises even if I weren’t reviewing it.

Something else that I’ve said before, is that I wish DC released new books as a trade first. I know that it’s probably not a smart decision when regarding short-term sales, but long-term, it could really turn out to be beneficial for DC and the book. While this book has had a solid performance considering there are no established characters within its main roster, I feel like it would’ve benefitted greatly from this strategy.

Let’s be honest, Gotham Academy was above average when it started, but definitely came across as though it were written for a specific age and gender group. Because of that, a number of readers jumped ship after one or two issues, and didn’t really get a good grasp on the book, or it’s tone. And despite the amount of praise a book gets, readers will still have their opinion of that title. It’s easy to say no to a book one or two issues in if you’re picking it up each month, because you’re literally forced to invest six months into the first arc. But, if the book had launched as a trade, I’m willing to bet that there would’ve been a much lower drop in readers since it’s debut. It’s all theory and will probably never happen, but it should at least attest to the strength of this title… Really, I’m only going on a slight tangent because this book is so damn good! If you gave up on this book, then you made a mistake.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get to the issue itself! First off, there are no tacos! I’m a little disappointed because I expected to see tons and tons of tacos! BUT, there was pizza, and it involved an awesome moment with Maps, so everything is right in the world!

Last month, we left off with Olive and gang going to the North Hall in search of Croc. After finding him though, they were soon found by Batman. I’m sure you can imagine how this will turn out: a bunch of kids, Killer Croc, and Batman… It’s going to be a scramble, followed by a brawl. And that’s exactly how we launch this issue – with a brawl. The fight was better than I would’ve expected. Croc even goes all Jerry Springer and throws a chair! As entertaining as this fight is though, that’s not even the good part of this issue! A fire is started (there’s more to this, but I’m saving it for later), and it forces everyone to separate. Olive gets knocked unconscious, but Croc takes her to safety. And this, is where the book starts getting really good.

Gotham Academy’s pacing has been driven by the mystery it’s immersed itself in. In this issue, we get a lot of insight into a number of these mysteries: Olive, Olive’s mother, her relationship with Croc, the school, Batman’s role in all of this, and more. The story – once again – elevates itself in nearly every way, giving the reader a sense of accomplishment, while still creating new questions and progressing the book forward. We also learn a little more about Millie Jane Cobblepot, which kind of ties this whole arc together. And, of course, Gotham receives a solid representation as it is nearly presented as a character. Simply put, this book is awesome… and it’s only going to get more awesome with the inclusion of a new student at Gotham Academy beginning in June…

 

Spoiler

Damian!

IMG_0914

IMG_0915

IMG_0916

 

 

Be warned, there are spoilers below.


The Art:
Kerschl delivers as expected. I was curious to see how well he handled action, and it wasn’t too bad. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, even though there were times it seemed like a panel or two might have been missing. Other than that, he was spot on as usual.

The surprise was the fill-in art by Mingue Helen Chin. She will be taking over art duties with issue 7, and if you remember, I was really concerned about how this book would look without Kershl. Well, rest assured, it still looks damn good! If you didn’t check out the spoiler tag above, then check out the pictures below for some art from both artists. All of it is amazing!

Spoiler

IMG_0911

IMG_0912

IMG_0913


The Good:
 Fire starter. So we have a little arsonist on our hands in Olive… except she uses HER MIND instead of gasoline and matches. Holy mother effing sheezy…. I did not see this coming… It looks as though her mother had the same abilities, so it’ll be interesting to see where this goes! And considering Manbat-boy is at the campus, I have to wonder how many other metahumans or “special” kids attend Gotham Academy. Maybe it’s just me… but this seems like a perfect opportunity to cameo the Wonder Twins…

Olive’s Mother. We finally get a glimpse into Olive’s past, specifically concerning her mother. We kind of find out why she was sent to Arkham, but I don’t believe we see the exact event. Regardless, the pages were Croc relays stories of Olive’s mother to her about their time in Arkham together, and her love for Olive is a really nice moment!

Crazy ties. We already know that Arkham Asylum is physically connected to Gotham Academy (the underground tunnels), but it looks like it’s connection stretches beyond that as well. Apparently, when Millie Jane Cobblepot was sent to Arkham Asylum, it was actually Gotham Academy. And that symbol that’s been popping up in random issues (etched in the school, Millie Jane’s diary, the crazy kids’ drawings)… it’s two inverted “A’s”… and it stands for Arkham Asylum… I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes… especially since Bruce has an interest in it as well.

Olive’s hatred towards Batman. I think we all knew that Olive’s hatred towards Batman stemmed from an issue involving her mother, but I’ve been concerned that the book would turn mellow dramatic whenever it delved deeper into that issue. We get to see Olive express her feelings here, and although they may be misguided, I didn’t find it annoying. I understand where she’s coming from, even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. And more importantly, Bruce handles the situation extremely well.


The Bad:
Yeah… I wouldn’t call anything here “bad.”


Recommended if:

  • You want to learn more about Olive’s mother.
  • You think there’s more to Olive than meets the eye.
  • You want to read DC’s answer to the Breakfast Club



Overall:
Gotham Academy is currently the shining light at DC Comics, and a book that every Batman fan should be reading! I experience absolute joy each month when I pick up this title!

 

SCORE: 9.5/10