This series is a delightful surprise so far. After several years of DC only releasing dark books in Batman’s corner of the DC Universe, not only did Batgirl have a redesign, but this delightfully unique series came into being. Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher have a gem on their hands.
Gotham Academy 6 kicks off right where issue 5 left us, with Olive Silverlock and her friends coming face to face with Killer Croc … and then Batman shows up. Refusing to allow Batman to hinder Olive’s search for information about her mother, she helps Croc escape. The way she interrupts the fight, along with Batman withholding information from her later on, only deepens the growing mystery of Olive’s past.
After the main conflict, the issue focuses on everyone’s school life. That’s what makes this series so great. The supernatural mystery behind the Academy is always intriguing, and the school life helps keep the mood light and fun. Each of the core characters have unique personalities that play off each other well. Maps is the optimistic girl who balances out the moodier characters and is very good with puzzles. Pomeline is the grumpy girl with a bit of a snobby attitude, but is also smart. Colton is a general troublemaker, who perfectly fits with the others. And of course there’s Kyle, Olive’s ex and isn’t as oblivious as the others seem to think. By this issue’s end, they officially form their detective club. They bring a sort-of Harry Potter feel to the book, just without the magic. If the first six issues are anything to go by, the detective club’s further exploits will be delightful come June when this series continues.
The art by Karl Kerschl is delightful. The whole comic feels like an animated TV show with its smooth, colourful appearance. At the same time there’s plenty of detail, most notably with the sewer exit below the academy with the wet bricks and plant life. The detail continues with the character design; each member of the “detective club” has a unique design that adds to the visual variety. The photograph showing the detective club at the end of the issue perfectly captures each member’s general attitude. Mingue Helen Chen draws a few flashback pages and the issue’s closer. Her art is simpler in appearance yet makes great use of lighting effects.
While not quite my favourite comic of the week, this is delightful. I don’t usually enjoy these kinds of titles, but the last few issues convinced me to stick with Gotham Academy for a while. If the idea of a boarding school in Gotham City with a supernatural mystery sounds appealing, check Gotham Academy out.