I’m wouldn’t call myself a passionate fan of Batman, but ever since Jon introduced me to some of his favorite graphic novels of the Caped Crusader, I’ve been hooked. I’ve only read five Batman graphic novels so far, but that number is ever-growing, so when, I discovered my library had the first volume of Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl, I couldn’t resist it.
There were two really great things about Gotham Academy:
- The artwork. Yet again I’ve discovered a graphic novel with beautiful art, scenery rich with detail, and characters that were incredibly stylish.
- Maps Mizoguchi. She’s the Dungeons and Dragons-loving, kid sister of Olive’s (our main character) ex-boyfriend. She’s chipper and vibrant and she has all the best nerdy lines referencing her favorite table top game.
Unfortunately, everything else was just sort of okay. Aside from Maps Mizoguchi, the rest of the characters were one-dimensional archetypes. I even found myself not caring about our main character, Olive Silverlock, or the traumatic secret she was struggling to recall; she was too angsty and devoid of emotion for my taste. The storyline had potential to be great, especially since it’s another graphic novel that made me wonder who the hero and who the villain really was (kind of like Nimona), but outside of that I didn’t really find it compelling. It seemed comparable to a Scooby Doo cartoon complete with red herrings and meddling kids; it was fun, but I felt like it lacked some depth. I also kept forgetting that the story took place in the Batman Universe. I kept hoping Gothamites would play a larger role, but they seemed more of a novelty than developed characters.
The story did end on an interesting cliffhanger though, but based on my experience with the rest of the graphic novel, I probably won’t advance to volume 2.
Have you read Welcome to Gotham Academy? Did you enjoy it? Are the new volumes worth my while?
Gotham Academy, Vol 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl
Released: June 2015
Publisher: DC Comics
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Synopsis: Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits…Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude…and an unexplained fear of bats. Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is the kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…and the secret society conducting bizarre rituals.Can Olive and Maps ace the biggest challenge of their lives? Or are they about to get schooled?
7 thoughts on “This graphic novel failed a saving throw | Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl”
I’ve never read a batman book or watched a movie, but those two things you liked about this book do appeal to me. The cover looks great, so I can imagine the inside looks just as good. I’ve played table top roleplaying games, so it would be fun to see references to that in a book. It’s a shame though that the rest fell flat and the other characters where one dimensional.
That is such a book killer, isn’t it? I do find myself a bit more generous with one-dimensional characters in graphic novels, simply because I know there’s a space issue and such. Sometimes, even though graphic novels are fast reads, I spend a considerable amount of time on each drawing just to see if I can find that kind of emotional connection with the characters simply by looking at the picture. I don’t know…I’m weird like that. 🙂
You do make a valid point about there not always being enough space for character development in graphic novels, but I guess compared to some of the other graphic novels I’ve read this year, I just really struggled to make connections with any of the characters in Gotham Academy. Maps though…she was excellent!
I haven’t read this yet, but I did want to give it a try. I think I will still, though I’m a bit hesitant to buy the whole first trade volume. It would be a shame to end up not liking it!
I read the first issue and decided not to continue with it. I said that I would check it out when it was published in graphic novel form, and I’m glad you’ve reviewed it this way, so I know that I needn’t retry the series.
Just curious, why did you decide not to continue with Gotham Academy?
Honestly, I felt the story became too complicated too quickly and nothing seemed organic about it.