DC Comics debuted Gotham Academy at a time when the publisher was starving for new ideas. The New 52 wasn’t grabbing readers the way DC had hoped, and rather than regurgitating the same concepts with cosmetic differences, DC decided to try something new. Gotham Academy introduced a fresh group of characters at a Gotham City high school with deep connections to Batman mythology, offering a horror-tinged superhero mystery that was specifically tailored to younger readers. The first volume ran for 18 issues, ending with an arc that had an outstanding lineup of creators from different corners of the comic-book world offering their distinct interpretations of Gotham Academy, its students, and its faculty. The book’s second volume, Gotham Academy: Second Semester, turned up the stakes as it delved into the history of main character Olive Silverlock.
Gotham Academy: Second Semester wraps up with this week’s issue #12, and this exclusive preview brings the focus back to Olive and her best friend, Maps, who haven’t been in the best place since Olive succumbed to the centuries-old evil spirit that has possessed her body. Writers Becky Cloonan, Karl Kerschl, and Brenden Fletcher (who is responsible for the individual issue scripts) have crafted a story that is rooted in emotional character relationships, and the cast has become very close as they overcome increasingly hazardous obstacles together. The art team of Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, and Msassyk has given this series lush, expressive visuals, and the combination of Archer and Hope’s crisp linework with Msassyk’s delicately painted backgrounds adds an animated quality to the artwork. Gotham Academy would actually be a great property to make the jump from comics to cartoons, and even though the series is ending, hopefully these characters will continue to have a rich life on or off the page.