A while back, there were 3 young character books that I was purchasing. They were Young Avengers, The Green Team, and The Movement. Each month, I would look forward to reading all 3 of those titles. The writing was good, characters were being developed, and there was the promise that anything could happen with these characters. There were not any preconceived notions about what these characters should be doing that would limit their development. Life was good. And then, within the span of a few months, all 3 titles were cancelled.
This week, I was in my local comic shop, and saw Gotham Academy #1 sitting on the shelf. I had not really heard much about it, other than it existing. I thought why not give it a chance. Just maybe, this could be the young character book that I had been missing.
In short, the issue follows Olive, a girl in her second year at Gotham Academy. She is paired with a first year student nicknamed Maps, who happens to be the younger sister of Olive’s soon-to-be, or possibly already, ex-boyfriend. Throughout the issue, we get brief introductions to the side characters, her fellow classmates. Most of those relationships seem to be adversarial. We keep hearing that something happened that changed Olive, but it is unknown to the reader what that event is. The only clue given is that she does not like Batman. This leads to the assumption that Batman is somehow involved in what happened.
This being the first day of school, there is supposed to be an assembly, but Olive and Maps skip it. Instead, climb the belfry to try to get a better look at the North Hall, which is supposedly haunted. At the top, Maps leans on some loose bricks, and falls over the side. Olive uses the rope attached to the bell, and swings down to pull Maps from the ledge she had grabbed. Unfortunately, the swinging comes to a stop in front of the large glass windows where the assembly is happening, and Bruce Wayne is talking to the students. He recognizes Olive. Later, Bruce comes to check on her, and she initially freaks out because she thinks it is Batman. Back in her room, Olive finds that her roommate is freaking out, because she thinks something is watching her through the window. Olive looks out, but doesn’t see anything. However, we see an eye peering through a crack in the wall.
Overall, I enjoyed this issue enough that I plan on getting issue #2. I thought the writing was pretty good. I do not remember reading anything written by Becky Cloonan or Brenden Fletcher, but I thought they did a fine job in giving introductions to the characters, the setting, and established the tone for the series. It is exactly what you need to do in the first issue of a series. First issues should be open to new readers, and not bogged down with history that the reader is expected to know. Karl Kerschl does the art, and it really works for the title. What really stuck out to me was the ability to convey facial expressions. It may seem like a small thing, but being able to enhance the writing with accurate expressions can make or break a book.
So, if you liked any of the 3 titles I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, I encourage you to check out this book. I just hope that sales are good enough that it will continue for a while.