Killer Croc’s hiding out in Gotham Academy #5 written by Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher, art by Karl Kerschl, colors by Msassyk and Serge Lapointe and lettering by Steve Wands.
Gotham Academy #5 opens with Olive confronting an escaped Killer Croc, who has been hiding out in the hidden passageways of Gotham Academy. He’s been the source of some of the ghost theories that Pomeline and Maps have been so enthusiastic about. He had been housed across from Olive’s mother while at Arkham (which confuses me) and had a picture of Olive and her mother. While there is no ghost (yet) a lot of the lore they’ve been exploring has been real in a way; Gotham Academy has many secrets and they’re just starting to reveal themselves.
Olive chases Killer Croc trying to talk but Killer Croc is wonderfully skittish and rather nonthreatening. He seals off a passageway to the now barred North Hall. Olive and Maps use a school dance as a distraction to continue their sleuthing. Olive “accidentally” asks Kyle to the dance but later leaves him with Maps, Pomeline and Colton to steal back Colton’s confiscated gear and then go and infiltrate the North Hall. While they do so Olive accidentally shoots the mysterious Tristan thinking he’s Batman. Only sort of half-right. Turms out mystery boy Tristan has the Langstrom virus so he is literally a were-bat. He’s supposedly at the school for that reason and was there the night Olive fell into a trance and walked through fire in the North Hall. He was the one that pulled her out. While they talk with Killer Croc over food, smoke bombs suddenly fall and speak of (Olive’s) devil; Batman drops down.
Gotham Academy plot-wise is progressing after sort of going slow. Art as always is gorgeous with some of the best coloring in comics right now. Its actually quite bizarre; it’s hard to imagine the artwork without its color. It looks like it was drawn and colored all at once by the same people with its rich and bright “animated” jewel-toned color palettes. The story is thankfully moving and things are getting a bit clearer. It’s apparent that Olive has some sort of powers she might not entirely be aware of. Batman obviously was an antagonistic figure in her past and I wonder if her mom was a villain of some sort. It’s clear she was unwell but I’m confused as to why she would be held across from Killer Croc, who you’d think be in the more “special sections” for villains rather than normal people being so close to uh, supervillains.
I really need them to decide what Arkham really was. I know it’s a prison for the criminally insane but the way Batman’s top rogues go in and out there it just needs to pick a function and stick with it. I know it’s currently housed in Wayne Manor, and that’s the strangest idea. Why would this be the same place they’d keep regularly mentally ill patients? While I’m glad they’ve finally explained who Tristan is, I hope this doesn’t mean a really bad love triangle. Please no love triangles.
Getting better. In general Gotham Academy is pretty spooky and all the kids that attend the titular school are sort of odd. Is this a school for special case kids and metahumans? There’s so much more here that needs explaining and while I like how they’ve been telling the story, I can’t help but think some of the method’s they’re using to tell it, such as Tristan’s “telling” versus showing flashback account of Olive in the North Hall with the fire, while showing it via comic, is a bit clumsy. It’s been so from the start, so I feel in some way it’s not quite hitting that sweet spot it really needs to but I think it can get there.