Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Da … Olive Silverlock!

Light the Bat signal—there’s a new gang of detectives in town in Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl’s Welcome to Gotham Academy.

Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Da … Olive Silverlock!

BOOK REPORT for Welcome to Gotham Academy (Volume 1 of Gotham Academy) by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl

Cover Story: To the Bat Cave!
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Holy Adaptation Potential
Arty Art: Comically Cute
Bonus Factors: Bruce Wayne-Lite, Diversity
Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Seekrits
Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle (Pending)
Relationship Status: Copy Me a Key, Please, Alfred

Cover Story: To the Bat Cave!

The two girls on the cover don’t look so sure about that rope their dangling from/climbing down. But if I know anything about Batman lore, holes in the ground with bats coming out of them have some swank tech hidden within.

The Deal:

Olive Silverlock is back for her second year at Gotham Academy, but a lot changed over the summer. Olive isn’t exactly sure what’s changed—whole chunks of her memory of the events that transpired between school years are actually missing—but she does know that she wants to cut back on the time she hangs out with not-quite-ex-boyfriend Kyle, while not hurting Kyle’s little sister Mia, a.k.a. Maps, in the process; the North Hall is off-limits to students; and there’s rumors of a ghost haunting the halls.

In the process of discovering what happened to her over the summer, Olive inadvertently figures out some of reasons behind the spooky start to her sophomore year.

BFF Charm: Yay

Even with her memories missing, Olive is a great girl. She’s just floundering a little, much like I’d be were I in her shoes. She’s very independent, which I appreciate in a friend, but eventually learns that she doesn’t have to do everything on her own. That can be a hard lesson to learn, but Olive took it in stride. She’s also a bit of a badass, who will pull crazy stunts to save friends and doesn’t shy away when faced with monsters, both the literal kind and the possibly misunderstood.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

It seems to me that Olive and Kyle were a perfect couple. He was responsible and sweet, and even his mom liked Olive. But when she went MIA over the summer, things got a little tense. And, when the mysterious “exchange student” shows up, and seems to know more than he’s letting on, poor Olive is faced with some seriously tough (hormone-led) decisions. Maybe not so much in this first collection, but there’s some angst on the horizon for sure.

Talky Talk: Holy Adaptation Potential

Although Welcome to Gotham Academy is a series based in the DC Comics universe, the first volume of the comics features wholly new characters (minus a few examples). These characters fit into the world well, from the little I know about it, but skew a lot younger. (The story was a little more MG than YA, me thinks.) Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher have created a slew of believable teenagers, teenagers who are both adorable and snarky in just the right amounts. Because of this excellent dialogue and fast-moving pace, I could totally see the storyline being turned into a CW/ABC Family/Disney Channel* series.

On the whole, Gotham High seems a little like the Hogwarts of the DC Comics world, with adventure and possible mishaps waiting right around the corner, but plenty of opportunity for the characters to worry about typical high school things (like who’re they’re going to the dance with and the paper that’s due Monday morning).

*If those last two weren’t owned by Marvel, of course.

Arty Art: Comically Cute

I have a hard time with some comics. They’re occasionally too angular or sketchy for my personal tastes. Karl Kerschl’s style is one I wasn’t familiar with, but you can bet I’ll seek more of it out now. He does a great job of differentiating between the various races his characters are, without them turning into stereotypes, and his quasi-cartoonish depictions of the characters fits well with the YA-leaning storyline. In addition to sounding like they belong in a CW show, like I mentioned in Talky Talk above, they all also look the part, which is fantastic. I mean, even Gotham Academy’s resident oddball Eric isn’t all that creepy looking. (Just a little, uh, high strung.)

Page via Comics Alliance.

Bonus Factor: Bruce Wayne-Lite

I’ll freely admit that I’m not a huge fan of The Bat. (I’m more of a Marvel girl.) But I went into Welcome to Gotham Academy with an open mind. I mean, yes, it would obviously feature something about Mr. Wayne, but from the very beginning it seemed like he’d skulk around in the background (natch) rather than be a major player. I was happy to find that this was the case, and the few glimpses we did get of him added to the intrigue of the story as a whole instead of taking away from Olive and the other kids’ adventures.

Bonus Factors: Diversity

Out of the five or six main characters of Welcome to Gotham Academy, only two of them are white—and one of those kids has red eyes in a pink-cheeked and olive-ish toned face (not albino), so I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in her ancestry.

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Seekrits

I jumped into Welcome to Gotham Academy not really knowing what to expect, and I finished knowing only a very little bit more. There’s a lot going on underneath the surface of the initial mystery in this first volume, and I’m sure we, as the readers, will be in the loop as soon as the characters are. This might annoy some readers, but I felt it was appropriate for what I view as an introduction to the characters and their world.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle (Pending)

It wouldn’t be YA without a little bit of a  love triangle, now would it? We didn’t get enough information to choose teams yet, I don’t think, but the day is coming, I’m sure.

Casting Call:

Olivia Holt as Olive

Japanese pop star Aina Otsuka as Maps

Hayami Mokomichi as Kyle

Relationship Status: Copy Me a Key, Please, Alfred

I know there are a ton of spare rooms in Wayne Manor, Book, so I hope it’s cool that I crash for a bit while I learn more about what’s going on at Gotham Academy. I’d even be willing to take a teaching job, so long as you don’t care about official credentials and you’re cool with me connecting more easily with the students than my peers.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from DC Comics. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Welcome to Gotham Academy is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
K