Gotham Academy #5 introduces a new character and explores Olive’s own mysterious abilities – plus, a school dance!
GOTHAM ACADEMY #5
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Karl Kerschl
Colourists: Msassyk and Serge Lapointe
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Gotham Academy #4: Killer Croc broke into the girls’ dorm!
IT’S A HEIST
Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher are nailing it month after month on this series and Gotham Academy #5 is no different. Maps, Olive, Pomeline and Colton all pair up to explore the tunnels that run beneath the girls’ dorm to who knows where, get to the North Hall and maybe even get some information out of Killer Croc. Now, in this issue Cloonan and Fletcher only call him Croc and the character is definitely a softer version of the character than has recently been seen in the various Batman books, but the implicit danger they are walking into by seeking out Croc is not lost over the course of Gotham Academy #5.
Now, because Gotham Academy #5 takes place at the titular school Cloonan and Fletcher trot out the school dance storyline. To their credit, it never comes across as trope-y because Olive, Maps and company use it as cover for their heist and actually makes for some of the issue’s best moments of comic relief. For example: Maps takes her roommate (yes, who is a girl), to the dance because she doesn’t have a date and Olive works up the courage to ask Kyle to go with her and winds up admitting – at least to herself – that her feelings for him still linger.
The romance continues throughout Gotham Academy #5 when a young male character named Tristan makes a very important appearance that serves to grow the scope of mythology that Gotham Academy deals with as a series. Tristan is infected with the Langstrom virus (long term Batman readers will certainly know that name and the implications that come along with it), and is biding his time at Gotham Academy until a cure can be found.
Beyond that, Cloonan and Fletcher take this opportunity to teach readers a little bit more about the mysticism that surrounds Olive herself. Gotham Academy #5 sees Tristan recounting some supernatural behaviour Olive exhibited when the North Hall burned down and also unites these two outsider-cum-magical characters, bringing with it the implicit promise that Tristan will be appearing in upcoming issues. Whether that be in a romantic of protector capacity I look forward to Olive having an ally that she feels she can be completely honest with.
For the most part, as mentioned above, Gotham Academy #5 is a heist. Olive, Pomeline, Colton and Maps do a lot of sneaking through the underground of their school in order to bring food to Killer Croc and thus accrue his friendship and any information he may have pertaining to Olive’s mother. There’s not a ton of information revealed in these scenes, but Cloonan and Fletcher do include an allusion to the Batman: the Animated Series episode Almost Got’Im which serves to cement this softer interpretation of the character.
Gotham Academy #5 illustrates the effectiveness of Olive and her compatriots and adds a new element into the fray in the best way possible. Also – there’s a Batman cameo!
Karl Kerschl never disappoints. Gotham Academy #5 is stunning, this series is easily the most beautiful book DC is putting out. In this issue in particular Kerschl’s work on clothing and design shines from panel to panel. With the setting of the school dance all of their characters are forced into their best duds rather than being relegated to school uniforms. Each outfit carefully reflects the characters personalities – Maps’ tomboyish attributes are highlighted in her donning of a suit, Olive as the leader of the group of misfit toys is a beacon in white even Colton wears his tie with reckless abandon so readers are sure to know what a cool kid he really is.
Kerschl also does great work on the increasing cast of supernatural characters that crop up in the pages of Gotham Academy #5. For the first time readers get a really good look at what Olive’s eyes do when she channels whatever magic it is that she has, Tristan’s Man-Bat appearance is tempered and not as frightening as his predecessor, though still striking and Croc hulks through the issue always the most imposing character in the scene.
Everything about the art of Gotham Academy #5 is a treat to behold.
BOTTOM LINE: SUCH A GOOD ISSUE
Gotham Academy #5 is the best Batman story that’s not about Batman and the best series that deals with the dark magical elements of the DC Universe. Olive and Maps are treats to read about and everyone on the creative team is firing on all cylinders. This is an outstanding issue.
[signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]