Gotham Academy: Second Semester #8 review

Gotham Academy SS 8

I’m so excited to be reading Gotham Academy right now.  If you’re not up to date on things, the last issue was mindbogglingly awesome.  While this one isn’t as awesome because it lacks a reveal as insane as the one from last issue, it’s still plenty amazing in its own right.  And now I’ll tell you why…

Up until now, the spirit of Amity Arkham merely had a slight foothold on Olive.  But with the realization that certain people who Olive thought were her friends were actually acting as her keepers on Batman’s orders (the person she blames for her mother’s death), Olive goes full-on flamy and allows Amity to run wild.  There’s still a bit of confliction as Amity’s desire for revenge has to contend with Olive’s residual feelings for Maps and Kyle.  Couple that with Amity’s bond with the Fritchs, and those two elements are  probably the only things that prevented Olive/Amity from burning the entire school to the ground.

While all those interpersonal relationships create an engaging dynamic that really helped to illustrate how much Olive is being torn apart from the inside, what I really loved was the history behind it all.  Even if it’s fictional Gotham history, I love history.  The idea that things coalesced to get people to where we are, and even though we don’t necessarily know all the details of the events that transpired to get us to where we are or that we even spend any time thinking about them, they pretty much influence our very existence and how we live on a daily basis.  But I digress.

The Book of Old Gotham that Pomeline and Colton found last issue essentially tells the tale of Amity Arkham.  How she was essentially accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake by the settlers who would later found Gotham City.  And…how Amity’s daughter was spirited away by a Fritch in order to escape the settlers’ wrath.

The whole encounter is illustrated in black and white (except for the flames and her burning red eyes) and it just oozes with Gothic atmosphere.  There’s definitely an old ghost story vibe about it that’s creepy as hell, but when you take a moment to realize that events such as this actually happened in our nation’s history, it’s even more disturbing.

Then there’s the setup for Gotham Academy’s final story arc.  Yeah, you read that correctly.  Gotham Academy is ending.  And while I’ll be sad to see these characters go, it means the writers have the opportunity to give us a definitive ending.  Instead of dragging things on forever the way most serial comics do, they have the ability to wrap things up in a satisfying way.  And what, pray tell, is the synopsis for the final story arc?

Oh hell yes!  It’s a revenge tale!  With the gang, presumably, rushing to stop her from doing the unthinkable.  And just check out this list of names:

If Olive/Amity even goes to half those names listed, this is going to be one star-studded finale!  I can hardly wait!

I think the only real negative here is that the creative team already telegraphed the fact that The Old Book of Gotham has the ability to exorcise Amity from Olive.  Granted, Amity/Olive took the book with her, but I have to assume it’s ability to separate them will be utilized later on.  Then again, it’s possible that the love of her friends will give Olive the willpower to banish Amity on her own.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Odds and Ends:

  • Even with all these cataclysmic events unfolding, Maps still finds time to be Maps.  We get a Lord of the Rings reference, and even though her best friend is on fire, Maps manages to be more speechless at the sight of Batman than Olive looking like a human torch.  Classic Maps.

Interesting Facts:

  • As if this story wasn’t awesome enough already, the magic words spoken by Bookworm to separate Amity from Olive are from “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft!
  • According to Lovecraftian Lore, this is Arabic and translates to, “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.”
  • I was originally going with a score of 9, but when I realized this little gem was hidden in here, I had to bump it up to 9.5.

Recommended if…

  • You have a pulse.

Overall:

This issue has so much going for it.  Not only is it continuing the adventures of the children at Gotham Academy, but it propels their story forward in leaps and bounds.  My favorite part involved the history of Amity Arkham and how she was burned alive at the stake as a witch.  The way it unfolds definitely makes it feel like the kind of creepy ghost story you’d tell around a campfire.  This issue also mixes in elements of Gothic Horror and Cosmic Horror that push the book to new heights.  All in all, I’m insanely pleased with what Gotham Academy has been doing of late and greatly look forward to the direction they are taking the tale.

SCORE: 9.5 / 10 

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