Requiem: Gotham Academy, Issue Eight

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GOTHAM ACADEMY #8 DC COMICS
ARTIST: KARL KERSCHL WRITERS: BECKY CLOONAN & BRENDEN FLETCHER
COLORISTS: SERGE LAPOINTE AND MICHELLE ASSARASAKORN LETTERER: STEVE WANDS

Tone is a hard thing to nail. It’s one of the most necessary parts of good fiction: if you can’t make a sad scene feel sad or a happy scene feel happy, then nobody will be able to get invested in what you’re creating. In many forms of fiction, nailing that tone is also a team effort. Bad acting can ruin what’s supposed to be the biggest moment in a film, for example. That’s how Gotham Academy #8’s greatest flaw kicks in. In the aftermath of Sybil Silverlock’s death, Karl Kerschl and colorists Serge LaPointe and Michelle Assarasakorn provide us a dreary, somber setting fitting for the funeral that occurs wherein. But that setting contradicts the lighter, more romance-focused story, which misuses the grieving Olive and makes the issue seem clunky and misguided.

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Quoth The Raven: Gotham Academy, Issue Seven

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GOTHAM ACADEMY #7 DC COMICS
ARTIST: MINGJUE HELEN CHEN WRITER: BECKY CLOONAN & BRENDEN FLETCHER
LETTERER: STEVE WANDS

What do you think about stand-alone episodes? Okay, what do you think about filler episodes? There’s a different feeling to each of those terms: that the former contains some sort of “special”, “unique” air, while the latter pertains to something inherently worthless. At their core, though, they mean the same thing: an episode of a series that does so little for the main plot, at least at the point it is released, that it could easily be skipped. Gotham Academy #7 is the first issue of the book that could count as being in that category, and while that works to its detriment in many ways, it’s still got plenty of fun going for it.

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“I’ve changed. And I’ll keep changing.”: Gotham Academy, Issue Six

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In a world where the Big Two’s output is mostly defined by pervasive darkness and overcomplicated tie-ins, Gotham Academy comes off as a sparkling little miracle. It’s a mostly stand-alone book about a bunch of normal kids; even if Olive has superpowers, after all, she’s not a vigilante and seems to have no desire to be. While the concept of exploring the daily lives of Gothamites could lend itself to some depressing situations, Gotham Academy decided early on to balance its darkness with boundless optimism, and that’s never more obvious than in the way it ends its first arc, mixing mystery with merriment.

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Save The Last Dance: Gotham Academy, Issue Five

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I’ve been a little worried about Gotham Academy. Not that it’s bad- it’s quite fun, and it’s got some of the best art in any book out right now- but there’s been something to be desired in its last few issues. Many of its revelations have come off soft, and it tends to avoid following up on some of its biggest moments. Luckily, this month’s issue avoided all of those pitfalls, and is its strongest installment since its debut.

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The Secret of the Symbol: Gotham Academy, Issue Four

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For all its talk of secrets, answers are the real focus of this week’s Gotham Academy. Not that every question is answered- the symbol is still a secret- but as its first arc draws nearer to its close, the dominos set up over the last few months have started to fall down. Things happen very quickly in this issue, and while many of the revelations that occur are great in theory, it’s hard not to feel as if the delivery comes off a little soft at many points.

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“Last year you were such a drip.”: Gotham Academy, Issue 3

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Gotham Academy has established itself firmly in its three issues as a comic that leans heavily on the past. From the story of Millie Jane Cobblepot to what happened to Olive and her mother over the summer, everything runs on rumors and history. It’s a great exaggeration of the way gossip tends to work in high school, from distributing old stories you heard about teachers to who’s currently dating who. For our Olive Silverlock, the environment of Gotham Academy has come with benefits (the friendship of Maps, for example) and downsides (the constant questions about why she’s changed, among other things). It makes sense that she’d devote herself to uncovering the mystery of the North Hall’s ghost and its possible connection with Millie Jane, who in her adolescent brain is one of the few humans she feels she can relate to.

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Let A Little Darkness In: Gotham Academy, Issue 2

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I don’t know a lot about DC Comics. If something wasn’t in Young Justice- a show I adored dearly- I don’t know about it. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about Marvel either; I read a good bunch of Marvel books, but if something isn’t in them, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I may be a big sucker for canon, hence my adoration of long-running independent books, but I can’t deny that the Big Two are both hard franchises to dive into. Thus, one of the great pleasures of reading Gotham Academy so far has been that I don’t need to have a long history with DC to understand everything that’s introduced. These characters aren’t appearing in a bunch of different books at once, or are burdened with extensive histories before this. They’re a bunch of kids growing up in Gotham, and they have their own problems. That may be why I find Gotham Academy such a fun read: it’s almost like opening up a whole new world, and watching it unfold slowly before your eyes.

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