Review: Gotham Academy Annual #1

by Derek McNeil
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[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Brenden Fletcher & Becky Cloonan
Pencillers: Adam Archer, Msassyk, Michael Dialynas, & Chris Wildgoose
Inkers: Sandra Hope, Msassyk, Michal Dialynas, & Chris Wildgoose

Reviewed By: Derek McNeil

The story begins with Olive Silverlock examining a clock in the Academy’s chapel tower. The clock has an arrow in its face, and when Olive removes the arrow, a glowing skeletal hand reaches out for her, but Olive awakens, and we learn that this was only a nightmare.

A crash of thunder draws Olive and Maps Mizoguchi’s attention to the window just in time to witness a caped figure on the Academy’s rooftops, just before they realize that the chapel tower has been hit by lightning.


The pair go outside to investigate, meeting up with Colton Rivera and Pomeline Fritch. The group sees a figure departing the chapel tower carrying something resembling a coffin. Before the can investigate, Olive collapses.


Two days later, Professor MacPherson has assembled a group of students to help clear items out of the chapel. Olive is not present, as she is still sick, as are a number of faculty and students of the Academy.

Pomeline offers her theory that the mysterious figure they witnessed was a vampire and that the object he took from the chapel was a coffin. Pomeline urges the group to hunt down this vampire and destroy it.

However, Colton has a different theory. His theory is that the figure was visiting lecturer Derek Powers and that he was carrying a body from the chapel.

Pomeline sets off with Tristan Grey to look for vampires, while Colton takes Kyle Mizoguchi with him to investigate Powers. Colton also directs his assistant Warren McGinnis to tail Pomeline and report back to him.


The Positives

This is a fun little story about a mystery with two competing possible theories and a unique solution. You would expect one or the other to be true, or maybe a third possibility, but not that both theories are completely accurate.

I also like the references to a certain DC character appearing in another title. This character doesn’t actually appear in this book, but the hints are quite clear: his adventures are set in the future, he will fight a villain named Blight, and his father is named Warren McGinnis.

I also thought it was interesting to see how the gang functions with the central character Olive missing for most of the story. Usually, the action centers around Olive, but this gave the other characters a chance to shine.


The Negatives

Unfortunately, there were a couple of mistakes concerning Warren that made the story a bit confusing. When he is caught by Tristan, Pomeline calls him “Renfield.” Combining this with the fact that he is shown here as a redhead when he had been blond earlier in the story, I thought this was a different character at first. However, this is the only problem I could find with the story.

The Verdict

This was a fun mystery with a complex storyline that came to a surprising, yet satisfying resolution. Gotham Academy continues to be an enjoyable title and an interesting diversion from DC’s typical superhero stories.



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