Welcome to Gotham AcademyTitle: Gotham Academy: Welcome to Gotham Academy (Vol. 1)
Series: Gotham Academy #1-6
Authors: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Illustrator: Karl Kerschl
ISBN: 9781401254728
Pages: unpaged (approximately 150 pages)
Publisher/Date: DC Comics, compilation copyright c2015. (originally published in single magazine form as GOTHAM ACADEMY 1-6, c2014, 2015.)

This place has an impenetrable history.
These old walls are built with even older stones.
Every stone has a story…
…but not every story has a happy ending.

Olive Silverlock is beginning her second year at Gotham Academy after an unmemorable summer. That’s not because nothing happened, she is literally having trouble remembering what happened. Her mom was in the hospital, there was some sort of accident, she really doesn’t like bats… it’s all a little hazy. She’s taking a break from her boyfriend Kyle, although new student Maps Mizoguchi that Olive is supposed to show around just happens to be his little sister. There’s a ghost haunting campus that is terrifying her roommate and making some of her classmates act really strange, with Tristan following her, Pomeline and Heathcliff may be trying to speak to the spirits, and she’s spending detention shooting the breeze with class delinquent Colton. What happened to her last summer, and what’s going to happen to her now?

I feel like I should know who Olive Silverlock is connected to the Batman mythos, but I guess I’m just not up on my comic book characters enough to know if she is a new person or someone we’ve seen previously. The ghost plotline was tied up nicely by the end, but it still left enough dangling threads to want me to read on. We also know a little more about Olive and her mother, but still not enough to answer all the questions. There is more to her than meets the eye, and I think what little we see of Batman confirms that he might realize that as well, as he seems previously acquainted with her, both as Batman and Bruce Wayne. The flashbacks are tantalizingly vague about what happened last summer. I’m a huge fan of the artwork, which utilizes a diverse color palette and a variety of panel layouts and mood lighting. Readers get access to a script excerpt and cast designs with commentary, which I think of as a behind the scenes glimpse of the creation process that you rarely get with textual books. In a back cover blurb, Nerdist describes it as “a little bit CW television series and a little bit Harry Potter, with a  wee touch of manga-inspired storytelling” but I think I’d probably compare it more to early Buffy meets Harry Potter, although I guess maybe Buffy was a CW television series before it was the CW. I do see the manga influence, but I’m glad it’s not manga, and it maintains its DC Comics roots.

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