Written by Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher/Art by Karl Kerscl
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Something strange happened to Olive this past summer, but she can’t remember what . . . or maybe she just doesn’t want to remember. Whatever the case, she’s not sure Kyle’s her boyfriend anymore, nor does she want to talk to him to get the official word. And bats bother her now, even the ever-present bat signal in the sky over Gotham City. Not that she has a lot of time to reflect on all that. Her second year at Gotham Academy promises to be a busy one, especially since she’s in charge of helping Kyle’s little sister, Maps, get settled in for her first year at the school. And there are those students who are determined to make the year challenging for Olive just because. Oh and of course there are all sorts of unexplained creepy phenomena popping up around the campus as well, and she can’t just let that go uninvestigated. Yes, it should be quite an interesting year indeed.
I really enjoyed reading Welcome to Gotham Academy, way more than I expected to, actually. It doesn’t have the same feel that most of DC Comic’s stories seem to. Sure it’s set in Gotham, and Batman even shows up at times, but it’s really a school story. The feel is more of Harry Potter-meets-manga sort of vibe. Which, as you can imagine, I loved. The characters are great; Maps and Olive in particular I became quite fond of. And may I just say, Maps is very funny to read–she’s so super-energetic about everything, and she relates life strongly to her RPG group (think D&D, but Gotham world version). The amount of tension is balanced well, and there’s a nice flow of resolution and increased tension and action throughout. Plus, the authors brought together an unexpected group of people in a way that was plausible and that emphasized their individual characters effectively. You end up with a neat little “Scooby Gang” at the end that I’m figuring will be the main cast for future volumes (and I am looking forward to future volumes!). Have I mentioned the art? It’s this great almost manga style, with a very nice color palette–nothing like your usual comic book. Especially nice since that’s the absolute number one thing that bugs me about most comics. I would highly recommend Welcome to Gotham Academy, even if you don’t normally like comics–and especially if you like Harry Potter or paranormal school manga (like Negima!).