Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Gotham Academy Vol 2: Calamity by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher

Gotham Academy Vol 2: Calamity written by Becky Cloonan and illustrated by Brenden Fletcher is the second collected volume of these YA comics set in a boarding school in DC's main comic universe (the one with Batman and Arkham Asylum in it). I have previously reviewed Vol 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy.

Olive has received information that her mother might be alive—and now, she and her friends must investigate! Of course werewolves, ghosts, and new student Damian Wayne won’t make it easy!

I did not enjoy this volume as much as the first. I spent a lot of the first couple of issues being confused about what was going on. And then, when things became clearer, it wasn't satisfying because I could see no reason for things to have been confusing in the first place. Also the existence of werewolves in a superhero universe seemed odd to me, but that's probably just my unfamiliarity with the DC universe (compared with Marvel) talking.

The larger, more overarching story in this volume is about Olive's mother and whether/how/why she was a supervillain. This is more interesting than the werewolf story and makes a bit more sense too... but I still think it could have been more coherently written. I am not sure if this is because we were supposed to pick up references to other DC comics (Google tells me Olive's mum has appeared in a few other comics that I haven't read), or what. It all made sense in the end — just — but I'm not sure it was worth the several pages of "wait, what's happening?" that I experienced near the start.

All that aside, I would still definitely pick up the next volume. I still like the characters and I think the series overall is still worth reading. The ending of this volume hints at how the story and characters (especially Olive) might develop in the future. I look forward to finding out how it goes.

On a side note, having a boarding school linked by secret tunnels to Arkham Asylum is pretty irresponsible. Furthermore, the existence of the latter is super ableist, wow. Even if it has been shut down/abandoned by the time Gotham Academy takes place.

I recommend this volume if you liked the first, but don't expect it to surpass the first in enjoyment. Although this is a bit of a step down, I'm not ready to give up on this series yet and will be picking up the next volume when I can.

3.5 / 5 stars

First published: March 2016, DC Comics
Series: Gotham Academy Vol 2 of ongoing series, containing issues #7–12
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

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