It’s felt like forever since the last issue of Gotham Academy came out. It went from being a book that came out the first of every month to one shoved all the way to the end of the month, which made the wait between the third and fourth issues feel exceptionally long.
Hopefully the wait was worth it. Is it good?
Gotham Academy #4 (DC Comics)
So you remember that cliffhanger from the last issue with that mysterious hand that grabbed Olive and nearly dragged her down in the abandoned dorm? Well, there’s no direct follow up on that; the issue instead just opens up the next day with the girls reflecting on that craziness and the building being on further lockdown. Olive is still pretty out of it after the experience, but the mystery surrounding all the strange phenomenon going on in the school only seems to grow. The ghost, the strange hand, this strange symbol she noticed, the diary she found…
Dammit! Will people please stop taping things into these library books?
The thing about the comic that I would have said an issue ago and would have brought up if it continued into this one was that the story was slow going. I don’t mind that personally, since it’s helping build up the setting and characters, but the story didn’t feel like it made many leaps forward outside of a couple of moments. This issue though? Not even remotely. The story finally feels like it is going somewhere by revealing a lot of new secrets, ending a few plot points, and even heading in a fairly intriguing direction given the cliffhanger of the issue. Sure, I wasn’t pleased with the fact that story didn’t really follow up on the big cliffhanger from last issue and instead skipped to the next day, but that wasn’t really too much a problem ultimately.
The writing here is pretty good. The characterization is going pretty well so far, in particular with the side characters. There wasn’t much development with Olive outside of the ending and her ex-boyfriend barely even appeared in the issue (seriously, he’s on the cover and he’s in only one page), but everyone got a bit of development which was nice. The dialogue and narration were all fairly decent, helping add to the characterization and even having a bunch of really funny lines. Seriously, Maps steals the show every time she appears in the comic with her peppy and excitable attitude. The real weakness, though, is in the transitions and story flow. It does tend to jump cut a couple of times at some awkward moments, sometimes at points where it feels like the scene should still be going on. It breaks the natural flow of the comic and actually made me feel like I skipped a page by accident at points. Hopefully that can be smoothed out in the next issue.
Okay, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what you were supposed to draw, but I would still give you an A for that painting.
Then finally comes the artwork and it looks great like usual. The characters are well drawn, each looking unique and different from one another. The layouts are easy to follow and creative in how they look. The sceneries are nicely depicted and the book is quite good at capturing a supernatural and mysterious tone in the right moments. The coloring is great as well, contributing to the mood a lot. The only weaknesses with the artwork come with plaid skirts (seriously, just look at them at the picture above! They don’t look normal) and the coloring in one scene seemed rather off with tones and shades used (it’s the scene in the auditorium with Olive and Maps on the balcony). But even with that, it’s nothing that really hurts or harms the experience.
Is It Good?
Gotham Academy #4 is another very enjoyable and beautiful issue of the series. The story made great and intriguing leaps this time around that are getting me rather excited for what the futures holds. The characters are good, the writing is solid, and the artwork is fantastic. This series really has turned out to be such a great ride and will continue to be until the end if it can keep this quality going.