I’ve been hoping for a long time now that Gotham Academy would get back to being a halfway decent book again, but to be honest, I never thought that it actually would. So how shocked was I to open this issue and not only find a decent story, but a really respectable one at that!
That’s definitely a callback to the cover of Gotham Academy #3.
In a way, it feels like I’ve been transported back to February of 2015. So much of what happens in this issue is a direct callback to those first several issues of Gotham Academy. This story reiterates Olive’s animosity towards Batman, revisits the crypt where Pomeline once held a seance, reestablishes Colton’s secret hideaway, reminds us that Kyle and Olive were once a couple, references Millie Jane Cobblepot and her diary, shows Maps’ penchant for unearthing ancient caches hidden by antiquated mechanisms, and seems to make real headway towards revealing the secrets behind the Arkham Asylum symbols and their connection with Gotham Academy.
After saying all that, it may sound like the only reason I’m into this issue is because it reminds me of past issues. If that’s all it had going for it, I wouldn’t treat it so favorably. I’d instead look at these inclusions as more of a type of pandering designed to seek audience approval. But the fact that the story finds an intuitive way to include all these elements is very impressive. On top of all that, it actually feels like it’s going somewhere with all this instead of just spinning its wheels. There is simply a real sense of excitement, discovery, and suspense to the story that I haven’t felt in over a year.
The only part that I found slightly off-putting was the very first page. When we last saw our trio; Olive, Maps, and Amy were in Bookworm’s office and had just ascertained that Pomeline had gone to Wedgwood. So, opening the book with Olive and Amy just chilling at band practice felt kinda off. Thankfully, it is quickly explained that Maps went to get supplies before carrying on with their adventure. Personally, I would have thought that they would have all run off together to get supplies. Starting the story with Olive and Amy just chilling kind of put a damper on the urgency that the end of last issue had established.
In any case, the story is broken up into three main components: Pomeline Fritch and Tristan Grey investigate the graveyard crypt and follow the Arkham Asylum symbols; Kyle Mizoguchi and Colton Rivera share a heartfelt moment; and Olive, Maps, and Amy uncover more secrets at the old Wedgwood house.
Of these three, the Kyle/Colton story is the shortest. And personally, I found it the least “entertaining”. That aside, it does pack the biggest emotional punch for the issue and gives us some much needed insight into who Colton is. Of the five main cast members, he has always been the most aloof. Usually amounting to nothing more than the group’s go-to tech expert and deliverer of quippy situational humor. It’s nice to finally be given some background information on him that helps deepen our understanding of who he is and why he does what he does.
Next up we have Pomeline and “Drac-Boy”. Their story is definitely the highlight of the issue for me. Why? They are active. They are pursuing goals. They are uncovering mysteries. They are pushing the story forward. We are on the path to discovery here, people. I can feel it.
Olive, Maps, and Amy’s story is similar to that of Pomeline’s in that they uncover mysteries too, just not on such a grand scale. While the mysteries might not be as epic, it’s the most entertaining part. Why? Maps!
That’s right, you go girl!
If all that isn’t enough to peak your interest, I get the impression that we are finally about to get some real answers. Now, I know I have said this before, but this time I think it may actually come to pass. If you follow sales at all, you know this book is doing very poorly at the moment. It’s definitely in the bracket of income that usually gets a book cancelled. If this is the case, the team may have decided to end on a high note. Instead of stringing us along forever and having the book fade away without revealing all its secrets to us, I think the team may be going for a grand finale that pulls out all the stops and answers all the questions. I really think it’s only in their best interest to do this. If it is destined for cancellation, they’re at least giving long time readers some sense of closure. And who knows. If it does well enough it may reinvigorate interest in the book, bring back some readers, and extend its life a little while longer.
You mean that guy right there?
- Is it just me or does it seem to anyone else that Amy is much more than just a mean-spirited person. I’m getting the impression that there is more to her than meets the eye.
- I really love the design of that door descending on the threaded column. That is just all kinds of cool right there!
- You wanna read one of the best issues of Gotham Academy to come out in over a year!
- You want a return to the fun, mystery, and excitement that Gotham Academy was always so synonymous with.
- You love Maps!
This issue is just straight-up bringing it back to basics. Putting back in all the things we loved about the original series. Bringing it full circle and addressing all those plot points that were left hanging. It just captures the feel and tone of what Gotham Academy was, and should be, so well. If you were someone who quit reading Gotham Academy because it got so off-track, well, I’m happy to report that this issue puts us firmly back in familiar water. You absolutely need to pick this one up. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to 2015 while reading it. Ok Team Gotham Academy, you proved to me that you’ve still got it, now bring this one home strong!
SCORE: 8.5 / 10