Review — Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy (NO SPOILERS)

In the darkness of Gotham City, one man (and anywhere between 1-4 kids at a time) is tasked with protecting the citizens who fear him. But within the pristine walls of Gotham Academy, a new team of detectives has formed.

Gotham Academy Volume One: Welcome to Gotham Academy, by the incredible talents of Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher, was an instant hit when it released. Amidst the gritty, bloody, hardcore world of DC superheroes, this fun yet mysterious look at a private school detective agency is fantastic for new comic book readers, young adult fans, teens, and anyone interested in the expansive universe that exists within Gotham.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 3.59.01 PMFeaturing a diverse cast and two young female leads, Gotham Academy is a step forward for DC, opening up the world that the comic book powerhouse has created to readers who might not line up with the conventional superhero story. The protagonist, Olive Silverlock, went through what seems to be a traumatic experience over the course of the previous summer, leaving her with a weird case of amnesia and a strange fear of bats. This prompts her bubbly new classmate (and the younger sister of her sort-of-boyfriend, Kyle), Maps Mizoguchi to launch a full-on investigation — dragging the irritable and strangely stand-offish Olive along with her.

This title is also great for fans of the Gotham television show, where the Penguin constantly takes center stage with incredible performances by Robin Lord Taylor. The penguin himself is not present, but there’s something dark in the Cobblepot family tree, and it has dropped itself directly into Olive’s lap. This spells trouble for Olive soon enough, which doesn’t help when she’s in the middle (well, the start) of a break-up with someone she still cares for deeply.

Without giving away any spoilers, this book stood out from the crowd for me because of its fearlessness when it came to being different from the beloved, standard DC fare. In a time where comics seem to be undergoing a massive expansion to reach a wider audience, titles like Gotham Academy that focus on human emotion, suspense, and drama are a unique and positive turning point. Gotham Academy doesn’t diminish the traditional superhero; in fact, this first volume seems to compliment the dark hero of Gotham by giving him a connection to our characters, but not too much of a prominent role.

Make no mistake: Olive and Maps are the heroines of this comic.

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In fact, the girls’ contrasting personalities seem to sum up the comic extremely well; Maps’ bubbly, outgoing and curious demeanor directly contrasts Olive’s originally hesitant, irritable reactions. The very same can be said for how the fun, airy, slice-of-life high school drama is balanced by a looming darkness that only Olive can resolve.

The book totters with a bit of a slow start, and because the reader is just as unaware of what happened to Olive as she is, it can get a little confusing at first. But readers who stick with it will be rewarded with a genuine, rich Young Adult mystery, where a new kind of Scooby Gang begins the trial-and-error process of their fledgling, inexperienced detective work. The story takes off after a while and stays that way; it is absolutely worth the full read.

Volume One, “Welcome to Gotham Academy,” collects issues 1-6 of the comic series in to one shiny new paperback. With gorgeous art by Karl Kerschl, an incredible, unique cast, and a wonderful balance of giggles VS. creepy suspense, Gotham Academy is a great read for anyone who needs a break from the grit of other titles, or really, any Bat-fan. Get it on June 23rd at your local comic shop or Amazon.com.

DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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Summer Reading List: June 2015

Summer is just beyond the rain clouds, and with the change of seasons, I’ve decided that it’s time to kick this blog into high gear again! While the weekly podcast and occasional post that gets folks in a huff have seemed to please enough of you, it’s about time I start using this domain proper, and what better way to do that then committing to a summer book review schedule?

That’s right – every other week starting in June, I’ll be reviewing books, comics, and graphic novels thanks to my membership at NetGalley (or my actual money, ha)! These will be honest reviews, and while not all of them may be popular opinion (I loved Lords of the Sith, but most everyone I know totally hated it) you’ll always get what I genuinely believe.

That said, I’ve already got a few reports cooking, so here’s a taste what you can expect this summer:

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5 Fandom Friday: 2015 Fandom Resolutions

The new year is upon us, and I have a lot on my to-do list! This year will see a lot more productivity on my part (I hope) on various platforms. I want to accomplish things this year, and get back into my old hobbies. Along with the ladies at Female Geek Bloggers, I decided to hop in with those promises, since they’re a lot easier to keep.

 

blog1I’d really like to kick off my first novel this year, and I already have a basic outline done – so inspiration is important! It’ll be a space opera, and while the genre seems limited, I’m determined to find great books to take me off into the stars again. This is also just a really great reason to read more this year. If anyone has some great recommendations, I’d love to read them!

 

blog2It’s been a hot minute since I’ve watched Arrow. Actually, I’m way behind on virtually every show DC aired this past year, and that’s a crying shame. While Gotham never really captured my fancy, I love Arrow and The Flash. I really want to give Constantine a chance, too. Marathons shall be had before the new seasons air!

 

blog3It’s been a while since I’ve made a new costume, and while I’ve definitely fallen out of the hobby a bit, it’s always lots of fun to wear a costume at conventions. For most of the year, I’m working at cons and don’t really have the time or capacity to cosplay; I’m hoping that this year gives me a little more time to have fun on the side! As far as which dream costumes occur, I have a small list – Leia’s Cloud City outfit and Capcom’s Son Son are two of my more do-able dream costumes.

 

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I’ve been struggling to come up with vlog ideas, but since I got to much positive feedback on my latest vlog, I think focusing on a particular subject is going to help me produce more great content – so, of course, Star Wars was the immediate go-to. I’m very comfortable talking about the fandom and lore, so expect more videos from me soon!

 

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I have a good excuse for not gaming, and it’s because I’ve not had access to a console for months. I’m planning on changing that by grabbing a PS4 soon, and getting more games for my 3DS. I’m super excited about my incoming PS4, not only because of the PS4 games I’m excited to play, but the indie games offered in the PSN Store. I’ve played a lot thanks to Sarah, including Velocity (which I LOVE) and Chariot (which will destroy your relationships, and is great), so I’m really excited!

 

There are plenty of other things that I could list, but I think these promises are definitely the type I can hold up. What are you resolving to accomplish this year?

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