Written by Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan
Art by Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Msassyk, Chris Sotomayor, Serge LaPointe
Published by DC Comics
Release date: September 14, 2016

After an annual that focused on the majority of the other members of the “Pizza Club,” Olive gets her chance to break the rules and have her own stand alone story with the first issue of Gotham Academy Second Semester. While the series hasn’t had Rebirth launch, this tales gives enough background information for new readers or lapsed readers to jump back in.

Without any family, Olive is spending the holidays, alone, at the school. The writing team of Fletcher, Kerschl and Cloonan also introduce a new kid, Amy. She is looking to push her way into Olive’s room and life. Similar in design to Harper and Cullen Row, Amy describes herself as the kid who got kicked out of too many schools. Equating vandalism with a sense of youth centered rage and release, Amy pushes Olive to break rules because she feels adults deserve it.

It’s a teenage “eye for eye” viewpoint that Olive is too logical to fall into, normally. However, the first few pages are spent on setting up her isolation and loneliness during the season. This adds to the reality that Olive is willing to break rules, but not push things too far.

There is a big art team on this book with all the various jobs from penciling, inking, background art and colors all divided up. Instead of creating awkward transitions, as in previous issues, it helps to create a cohesive style throughout the book. Msassyk’s well rendered backgrounds help Archer’s characters come alive. They look they could start moving, as a cartoon, at any moment. Sandra Hope’s careful inking adds to this effect. Vivid colors and textured skies help add to a sense of danger when student Eric find’s himself in danger due to Amy’s mean streak. The rather simplistic story is taken to a level of pure enjoyment, thanks to the art team.

The story gives a few nods and winks from the previous volume of Gotham Academy that long time readers will enjoy. New readers might feel a little lost, since Olive’s background is not fully explained. Yet, because the rest of the regular cast is not present, for the majority of the issue, simply knowing they’re Olive’s friends works. This is a stand alone issue that helps to reintroduce the atmosphere of the school. It has a straightforward story that works for teens and tweens, as well as fans of gothic Gotham.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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