Gotham Academy #1 Review

Written by Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher
Art by Karl Kerschl

I’m so pumped to begin this journey with you, let’s go straight in!

You remember that feeling before the first day of school? You bought all new clothes and imagined walking in the building, collecting hugs and pretending your new style was as effortless as Nas’ flow? Secretly you were nervous though, because your hair was so different, your mom scoffed at the price of the kicks you really wanted, and you calculated with mathematical certainty you really only had 9 days of mixing and matching outfits until you actually ran out of new school clothes.

This must be the way the homies at DC felt when they launched Gotham Academy.

Gotham Academy is different from anything else we’ve read from DC. It’s a fresh perspective on the city, introducing new characters and insight into the lives of the “regular” people Batman fights to protect. Different can be scary though, and while I imagine Cloonan and Fletcher knew this is the beginning of a beautiful series, they were probably felt the same jitters of their character named Maps as she waited outside the office of the school Headmaster.

Maps – nicknamed for her affinity for cartography – is a lovably young and naïve student beginning her first year at Gotham’s premiere prep school. She is matched with a second-year student, Olive, to help show her the ropes. That’s an unfortunate drag for Olive, who is the quintessential angst-ridden teenager. Olive feels misunderstood by everyone, including herself, as she struggles to learn her identity as a person.

Maps and Olive find themselves sneaking around a banned area of the campus grounds, and thus begins their first adventure. It also leads to our first cameo, wasting no time to introduce us to Bruce Wayne.

Gotham Academy #1 is like Recess grows up and meets Gotham City, complete with bullies and teen anxiety – and who wouldn’t want to see Spinelli navigate that? It’s only the first issue so it’s just laying a foundation, but so far I’m buying into its potential as a great series. The art is fantastic, the characters are endearing, and it’s refreshing to see something new, young, and different.

The architecture and bat signal give us a familiar Gotham from two unfamiliar characters

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First day of school, y’all. Welcome to Gotham Academy!

Score: 9/10


  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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