With the release of Gotham Academy Second Semester 3, I am reminded that this series is the biggest roller coaster I am currently reading. Just when I thought they had circled the wagons and were ready to proceed on the right foot, they derail again in a series of moments that made me say “ooooooookay…” aloud on the train twice. Twice.
The issue actually starts off on a pretty good note, continuing the madcap adventures of the previous issue, as the group continues to investigate the mysterious coven of witches that have appeared, and have kidnapped Maps. There’s a delightfully hokey Scooby Doo-esque chase sequence throughout the dormitory that ends in a similarly cheesy reveal of how the witch is able to control her minions. Likewise, the reveal of the witch made me smile, because I read the reveal in Velma’s voice. This is all good, for the series, and makes Gotham Academy: Second Semester #3 tolerable.
Let’s talk about the bad, shall we? First, I thought we were done with Olive’s tie to fire. I thought we agreed, as a fanbase, that this needed to end because the writers never know how to follow through with it. I’m sorry, but watching Olive be captivated by fire for a quarter of the book, only to ultimately snap out of it yet again, is getting very old. Mostly because I have no doubt that, like with all the other incidents, this will be promptly swept under the rug and not mentioned again for several issues. I’d be curious as to why Calamity was appearing in a fire about burning books — she is clearly attached to both the school and some older influence in Gotham — but again, this most likely won’t be mentioned or referenced again, rendering it moot.
Along those lines, Amy’s true purpose may be starting to reveal itself, but again, it’s so sporadic I can’t be bothered to find any intrigue. She enters and exits the series, page-by-page, at odd intervals and always feels like a weird addition when she appears. In her introductory issue, she was pushing Olive toward doing bad things, and in this issue her sole purpose is to goad Olive toward Calamity. I’m sure she will be involved in a dramatic reveal of working either with Calamity or people wanting to bring back Calamity, I just wish the series would pick a direction and stick with it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: either make Olive have powers and be tied to Calamity and just get on with it, or drop it like it’s hot.
My biggest “wut” moment though, was the revelation that Colton has a crush on Kyle. I want to make it clear that I’m not complaining or confused on Colton’s sexuality — in fact, I’d argue that it adds a delightfully intriguing and deep subtext to his character. My complaint is that Colton and Kyle have always been polar opposite characters who have, for the most part, been at odds with one another. Suddenly, in this issue, not only is Colton shown as a lovesick puppy, but Pom has always known this about him. As a person who has followed the entire series, it feels like a sudden change in direction. As though the author said to the audience “Oh, you never noticed this? DUH.” It’s just another example of a series that is continually switching gears, and it’s starting to feel as though there are simply too many cooks in the kitchen.
As a somewhat interesting final note, I have to say that for all of my complaints, my daughter thinks the series is just great. She’s been following along with me, and given that the series is rated T, maybe if I were younger, I wouldn’t complain about the constant derailing and bouncing between plot points. She is not at all bothered and maybe that’s the point of the series. Maybe it’s meant for a younger audience and as long as it makes sense to that audience it’s OK. As an adult, though, the constantly injection and forgetting of plot points and character development makes for a disjointed and almost nonsensical ride. Until it can pick a direction, I don’t feel it ever rising above the “meh” mire that it is.
Author(s): Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl
Artist(s): MSASSYK, Adam Archer
Publisher: DC Comics
Publish Date: 11/09/16
Acquired via Purchase