Gotham Academy #11 Review

Writers: Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan / Artist: Karl Kerschl / DC Comics

As if the squad isn’t already enough, Gotham Academy #11 adds Red Robin to the mix, because why not? It could’ve been Red Robin the restaurant with the bottomless fries and I still would’ve looked at the cover like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ before copping this heat. Let’s get into it!

First off, all praise to Maps for being the consistent comic relief that keeps this series hilarious. Maps is to Gotham Academy what Barney Stinson was to How I Met Your Mother – a supporting character charming enough to often become the de facto star, and entertaining enough that a Black writer might publicly admit to having watched How I Met Your Mother*.

Issue #11 sets the stage with our Detective Club on their way to Kyle’s tennis tournament, but definitely on their way to something more. No disrespect to Kyle’s tennis prowess but you know they have an ulterior motive. I’m not buying any high schoolers’ hype about a tennis tournament, acting like they’re about to go see the Dillon Panthers. This ain’t Friday Night Lights, this is tennis. Pomeline has the same reaction I give when my friends drag me into a crowded New York bar:

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 7.34.40 AM

Anyway, Kyle’s a diversion, and he’s okay with that. Sure he’s just a smokescreen, but at least he’s not Katherine. Katherine’s still Gotham’s Eeyore. She’s the Detective Club’s Jerry Gergich, minus the loving family. “Your dad’s Clayface? Why don’t you shape shift into Gordon Ramsay and make dinner?”

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 7.57.21 AM

After a few issues that weren’t in a rush to push the plot forward, this one flies through on a zip cord to refocus readers on Olive’s family. While the city’s collective memory recalls Sybil Silverlock as a terrifying ghoul known as Calamity, Olive rehearses College Dropout lyrics at bedtime, like:

“You tell me you ain’t did it, then you ain’t did it. And if you did? Then that’s Family Business.”

And the Silverlock family’s been doing business for a long time. If Arkham was a university Olive would get in with a legacy scholarship and heirloom handcuffs. No wonder she’s a gangster and standing up to people twice her size – she’s had D-block in her blood for generations. Hell, I consider it a blessing she wasn’t stomping folk in the yard; probability statistics show a 90% chance Olive was born with a prison jumpsuit already on. Possible taglines for Silverlock family reunions t-shirts must read like a tragic comedy:

Silverlock Family Reunion: Established 1935, Incarcerated 1945-Present
Silverlock Family Reunion: Who Let Us Free? You Know We Gon’ Try and Kill You
Silverlock Family Reunion: This Fabric Way Softer Than The Potato Sack I Was Wearing

Gotham Academy #11 is another strong issue that benefits from such a strong supporting cast. This is Olive’s story, but you care just as much about the people around her; in fact, the way her friends love her so much is part of the reason readers love her so much. Look forward to more action, adventure, and some serious nods to Batman: The Animated Series.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 7.38.27 AMDwayne Johnson Applause

9.2 out of 10

*already regret it

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  • 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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