Comic Review – Gotham Academy #14

  • Writers: Brenden Fletcher, Derek Fridolfs, Katie Cook, Hope Larson
  • Art: Adam Archer, Dustin Nguyen, Katie Cook, Kris Mukai
  • Letters: Steve Wands
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Release Date: January 13, 2016

Just when you think that Gotham Academy couldn’t get any cuter, the series comes out with a yearbook issue. A yearbook issue. Geez. In the wake of artist Karl Kerschl’s final (and awesome) Gotham Academy #12, we wrapped up a major arc and ended the issue on a darker note as far as Olive’s ancestry and relationship with Calamity are concerned.

Gotham Academy #14 follows the Robin War tie-in issue that I haven’t read yet and is definitely a lighter and fluffier kind of break between arcs. The issue – the first of two parts – uses a “story within a story” format in order to bring us three short glimpses into the day to day life of our Gotham Academy students and staff sandwiched between Brenden Fletcher and Adam Archer’s “Interstitials” which has Maps and Olive putting together stories about their friends and the faculty members of their school.

GOTHAM ACADEMY #14 Cover by Mingjue Helen Chen
GOTHAM ACADEMY #14 Cover by Mingjue Helen Chen

First, we have Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen’s “Animal Science 101” where Colton and Eric get into trouble during prank week.

I tend to enjoy Dustin Nguyen’s art a lot so this was great. There’s a sense of super cute whimsy in his work that I feel DC needs more of. Now Fridolf’s work is unfamiliar to me but I liked the set up for the story as well as how it was a fun, light story that still managed to be kind of spooky in a way. The whole story was just super fun, but there were two moments that really pushed it that much farther towards an enjoyable read: Colton’s puns while they were running from the goat, and then at the end of the issue where we find out the boys’ punishment for breaking into Langstrom’s labs.

Next, Katie Cook’s “Queen Glee” gives us a look at a glee club lead singer gone wrong when the singer of the Gotham Academy Glee Club puts everyone under her spell. Including Olive. I love Katie Cook’s art style because it’s simple and immemdiatley adorable. I also love that basically the lure of cat videos on the internet is what saves the day and breaks the spell. Where else would that be a thing?

Finally, we have Hope Larson and Kris Muka’s “Scottie Dog” which looks at the awesome Professor Isla Macpherson back when she was a teenager. This is actually my favorite story out of the three. They’re all great stories with cute art and fun plots, but I definitely felt as if I understood this one more and ID’d with Isla. It’s an eighties centered story and the fashion may be unfamiliar, but I get her. I too was once the awkward islander with an accent that was interesting and distracting. I’ve even had experiences like what Isla has with her “friends” where they’re just hurtful for no good reason.

What I really love about “Scottie Dog” aside from how easy it is to relate to, is that I’m pretty sure that we’re supposed to read Isla as queer at the end. I mean, I can’t be imagining that, right? Like she definitely had something with Toni, right?

Gosh. I hope that we can find out more about their relationship because there’s definitely a story there that needs to be told.

I love the use of the anthology format to tell these stories in Gotham Academy #4. This was an amazing choice on DC’s part and I hope that we get some more of this type of work in the future. The nature of comic anthology issues is that it gets less established artists the chance to work on a bigger book. You get different types of stories, different types of art, and with the use of an overarching story enfolding them the way, we got to see them pulled into the canon of Gotham Academy. This was a really great book and I hope that we get to see more comics following the anthology trend!

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About the author

Zina Hutton

writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories.

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