We took a look at the Batgirl tie-in for Endgame a bit ago, so why not look at another one? This time, Gotham Academy gets the Endgame treatment. Is it good?
Gotham Academy: Endgame #1 (DC Comics)
Gotham Academy is locked up due to the Joker virus and Jokerized people running rampant right outside of its walls. All of the students are camping out in the gym safely, waiting for this huge incident to blow over. Maps, Olive, and Pomeline are resting in their own little tent, just relaxing and wondering what to do now. Eventually though, they decide to share some spooky, Joker-like stories to pass the time.
Unlike with the Batgirl tie-in, this issue plays around a little bit with the idea of Joker being immortal or having this presence that has been around for seemingly forever. Maybe he didn’t have his name yet, but his influence can certainly be seen within these stories if we play with that idea. But even ignoring that, this is a really fun one-shot. It’s just an issue of the characters telling scary stories, but it does that so well. All of the stories are nicely creepy and eerie in their own way (two of them remind me of Goosebumps stories, but with less unintentional goofiness). Our tales include a kid and this mask he just can’t seem to get rid of, an old legend from Scotland about a performing jester, and one about a kid who summoned something called the Grinning Man. Each of them feel unique in their own ways, have some great bits of terror to them, and are pretty memorable. I don’t dare spoil them, since it’s best to experience them for yourself.
The writing duties are handled by several people here. Besides the usual duo of Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, the artists of each individual story actually write that tale. The artists do a great job with writing, providing some good narration, an unnerving tone throughout, and some pretty amusing creativity or twists on old concepts. The pacing is good, the story structure flows well between each tale, the dialogue is very enjoyable and has a lot of good lines, and the characterization is still pretty strong. There’s honestly really nothing to complain about here at all when it comes to the writing.
The true star of the book is the artwork provided by several great artists. Jeff Stokley is the main artist who draws all the scenes with the girls at the Academy and while he’s probably the weakest (he has some issues with drawing characters and detail at points), his work is still very good and he can capture some great emotion and expression with the cast. Clio Chiang draws Pomeline’s story and the style is the perfect mix between scary and kid friendly. The art is cartoonish and warm, but still able to pull off some very creepy imagery as the art depicts the masks in the story. Joy Ang does the second story and her work is probably the best of the entire bunch, with just how downright distributing and horrifying it can become. Its great angles, colors, and nasty imagery make for a truly memorable experience. Vera Brosgol does the final story, which has a similar tone and feel to Clio’s with the combination of scary and cartoonish (though with more digital coloring to it). Each artist’s style is different from one another and honestly, I can easily recommend getting this issue for the artwork alone.
Is It Good?
Gotham Academy: Endgame #1 is a great issue, telling a fun story with our favorite characters from the series and even building off ideas introduced in Endgame. The stories told are pretty creepy and memorable, the writing is strong throughout, and the artwork in the book looks very good. It’s something you should consider checking out, even if you are not reading Endgame.