One final time: WHY WOULD YOU SEND YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL IN GOTHAM? "Honey, this school looks great, that should balance out the fact that it's in the middle of the clown murder capital of the world, right?"
So, there's a whole lot of murdering going on outside the walls of the school, right? No big deal, just get all the kids in tents in the middle of the gym, ride all that murder out until it passes. So Olive, Maps and Pomeline are in a tent, ignoring stories of "The Custodian," Gotham Academy's own "hero" (who may or may not be outside rounding up Jokerized crazies), and opt to tell their own stories about the Joker.
Pom tells a story about a young boy who stole a clown mask, and when he tried to get rid of it, the thing kept coming back no matter what, and eventually stuck to his face. Prof. Macphereson hears the girls and joins in, telling a story about a jester from her native Scotland who made everyone smile at his performances... if they didn't, he'd dismember them and turn their decomposing flesh into a bag pipe. Yep, Gotham Academy just went there. Finally, Olive tells a story that her mother once told her. Apparently, when Olive's mother was younger, she was at a school sleepover where some kids wanted to summon "The Smiling Man." Basically, it's Bloody Mary, except you tell a joke into the mirror, and if he laughs, the Smiling Man appears. One kid told a real f'ed up joke, but no smiling man... But the kid kept seeing his own reflection smiling back at him everywhere he went, kept getting worse and worse, and eventually drove the kid mad.
And that's the end of the spooky stories. Oh, that guy outside? Well, it's Headmaster Hammer, and let's just say if it's revealed that he is (or was) the new version of the Cavalier, don't be surprised.
So, the first thing to say is, that if you're already reading Gotham Academy, feel safe in knowing you'll probably enjoy this issue, and it does potentially set something up in the future with Headmaster Hammer's nighttime activities. What I really enjoyed about the first and third stories (the third one in particular) was that it really leaned into the idea that Joker proposes in Endgame, that he is immortal, and he's been a part of Gotham for longer than anyone knows. With these being ghost stories and urban myths being told, the two concepts line up perfectly. So, to sum up: good issue any GA reader should pick up, plays with certain Endgame ideas nicely, and comes with some potential hints towards the future.