[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan and Karl Kerschl
Artist: Adam Archer
Inker: Sandra Hope
Olive is alone in the Gotham Academy for the holiday break. She is very, very sad. Her only companion is a benevolent instructor until…Her new roommate, Amy, shows up and causes a ruckus. Olive is lonely. She is in pain. She is desperate for a friend. This new girl is kind of a turd. What should she do? Open up the pages of Gotham Academy: Second Semester and find out!
Adam Archer is, as I think the kids say, amaze-balls. Holy crap. Every line is sharp. Every detail crisp. Every wave of Olive’s hair has the perfect amount of shadow. Every corner is dark and creepy. What was that?! Yikes! I have never lived in a creepy old mansion. I have never visited a creepy old mansion by myself or with others. Honestly, after what Archer has done with this issue, I do not have to. So good.
Sandra Hope is the perfect companion. In case you did not know, Olive’s hair is white and her eyes are red and if you have never seen that in real life, you will not fully understand what it looks like until you open the pages of this book and witness it at the deft hands of Sandra Hope. Wow. Then, there are these panels that have color bursts that define the action in such a way that the reader gets caught up.
The writers have decided to introduce us to a new character by pitting her against an old favorite. It is a good contrast. Amy is pretty much everything that Olive is not. Olive, like most kids who are going through some emotional stuff, is easily influenced. Anyone who has kids or has been a kid (that should be everyone reading this) can relate to Olive’s tale of woe. She falls down in this issue, but we hope, with what we see on that last page, that she has picked herself up and is flying right again.
If you have not read this book before, you will be lost. The story is slow, but it is not a mystery as much as it is a coming of age story. The pace is deliberate, but not for everyone.
This book has not cast the widest of nets. However, if you, like this reviewer, find that sometimes you need to read a book for and about kids to remind you that life is not as horrible as you think it is, this book is for you. There is something about a story that focuses on a kid that puts your own life in perspective. The lens through which adults view angst is different than the lens the kids are using. Angst is real pain. We can see it for what it is and be glad that our problems are not those. This book is all about growing up. Sure, growing up literally in the shadow of the Bat, but growing up nonetheless. I appreciate the truth that is told in this tale and you should too.