Story: Brenden Fletcher
Art: Adam Archer
What They Say:
It’s “Yearbook” part 3! As Olive and the gang continue to help Maps with her yearbook project, they recall some of the crazier escapades from the past year!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Though the Yearbook storyline for Gotham Academy is a mixed bag it’s the kind of mixed bag that works because you can get some really great and stylish stuff mixed in. Sometimes you need to change things up a little bit. Four issues worth of it may be pushing it a bit, but if we’re able to maintain what we got in the early issues with the core creative team then it’s all worthwhile. This issue shifts gears a bit as we get just two stories beyond the connective tissue piece from Fletcher and Archer and that helps to make it a bit more engaging. I do like short stories and some really creative stuff can be done in that form, but the chance for some other teams to sink their teeth into things isn’t a bad thing.
While we open with some fun with Damian/Robin in the academy checking out the book, the first main story comes from Tynion IV and Christian Wildgoose as we see Maps’ Day Out. This is a fun bit where Maps wants to get to the top of the GCPD building in order to meet Batman and has done some great illustrations to show how she envisions it all going. Enlisting Colton’s help may not be the smartest thing but he actually goes along with it, which makes it a lot more fun than you’d expect simply because of how much trouble he gets in. What charms is Maps encounter with Batman itself as there’s a lot to like with how she comes across and the side of Batman that we know is there as well – much to Damian’s disbelief. Connecting it in that way with Damien in the interstitials just adds a little more nuance to it in all the right ways, particularly with him having to deal with Pomeline who doesn’t even believe that he’s the real Robin.
The big story in this installment comes from Ken Niimura, as he does the story and illustrations and even the lettering. Titled Boring Sundays, it’s a lengthy piece with a great sense of playfulness about it that has some hues of Calvin & Hobbes about it as Maps looks for something fun to do on Sunday while everyone is getting into their own things. When she discovers a time capsule that goes back to the first year of the academy back in 1779, it opens a vast conspiracy and search that she gets to draw everyone into in a big way since it is a really curious one. Of course, there are the obvious gotcha moments such as how the time capsule could be found so easily at this point, as well as the truth behind it, but the fun is just in watching this group work together and the great style that Niimura brings to the page as it’s simply cartoonish in all the right ways. Proving this book can go down that path once in a while is worthwhile.
Gotham Academy may not be doing big or important story work here but it’s having a lot of fun. And fun is definitely important in books like these. The series has done its fair share of serious material and it knows to balance it with some lighter material. We may be getting more of it than we should in this arc, but the results are definitely fun and there’s a whole lot to like with it as it unfolds. The two stories here definitely click well with their respective styles and intent and the bridging material with Robin is spot on fun in its own way. These may not be hugely memorable in the long run but they add some great color to a very good series.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 9th, 2016