Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SPOILERS: Gotham Academy #2

Good lord this book is one of the best looking things DC is putting out at the moment. No arguments to be had about it, that's just fact.

The Spoilers:

Olive is up late at night reading the diary of Millie Jane Cobblepot, when she notices some sounds outside her room. Inspecting the hallway, she's blinded by the light of the distant Bat-Signal, then spies some clocked figures running throughout the the grounds outside.

The next day doesn't start off well, as a conflict with Pom ends up with Olive being paired with the resident meangirl for a history project, followed up by an awkward encounter with Kyle at lunch, which she does her best to avoid.

In the Library, Pom and Olive study without talking to each other, until a Batman '66 vet The Bookworm, now Mr. Scarlett, suggests a book that could help them out. Olive goes to find it in a deep part of the library, and once she does, there's some spooky Twilight looking dude with creepy eyes back there too. Olive returns to Pom, looking like she saw a ghost, and thus getting ridiculed for it. Pom looks at the book and is disappointed that it's just another copy of Millie Jane's diary, but once she looks into it more, notices there are a lot of handwritten notes, which cause her to snatch it up and leave Olive alone.

The rest of the day is followed with some angst, so Olive is looking forward to going to bed. Not happening, as Maps is in her room, investigating the ghost noises Olive's roommate Lucy reported. Both of them end up seeing the same cloaked figures and decide to follow them into the old cemetery, where they find a hidden door dug up under a great tree near the Cobblepot crypt.

Inside the underground tunnels, Olives and Maps seem to find some sort of cult holding a ritual around a book. Olive notices they're dressed like Bats, which triggers something in her, but she ends up collecting herself, and taking another look. Olive notices that the book in question is the same one Pom stole from her, so knowing that the cult is just a bunch of other students, Olive storms out to collect her book, knocking a few candles down in her wake.

That's when things get weird, because when Olive gathers the book, despite being told she'll ruin everything, she begins to think of her mother, and when that happens, the flames from the knocked over candles blaze, engulfing her, but she seems to be perfectly okay.


The Review:

As I said right at the beginning, holy shit is this one good looking book. Karl Kerschl's style is perfect for the tone, he's got a great clean line style, and excels with body language and facial expressions, but the star here is the colors, good god, the colors. I'd be real interested to see some process work behind this, because you've got Geyser credited as the main colorist, with two more guys in Dave McCaig and John Rauch, both of which are industry vets contributing. Both McCaig and Rauch have coloring styles that I can instantly recognize, but neither seem to be present here, so I'm just really curious how they contribute to the final look, which like the first issue has a great cross between a tradition comic aesthetic and animation cells.

Outside of the art, what I love about the story is how much the main plot is supported by references, easter eggs and off-hand mentions throughout the issue, which really help establish some great world building as well as providing some mystery that I really want to know more about. All the side plots can range from something seemingly as mundane as a weird kid with a crush on Maps, to whatever the hell is up with Olive, her mother and Bats (which Mark Doyle tweeted earlier today might be explained further in Arkham Manor). It's one thing to just do your standard teen drama, which admittedly isn't my favorite story-type, far from it... but it's a completely different thing to do a teen drama in Gotham and fully utilize all the style and mystery which comes with it, something Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher are excelling at so far. 

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