Thursday, September 13, 2018

Gotham Academy, Second Semester - Volume 2 - The Ballad of Olive Silverlock

Yet another series comes to a close with this second, and final, volume of Gotham Academy: Second Semester. I never would have believed I would like this series so much, and I likely would never have even picked it up had my friend, Kevin, not encouraged (well, strongly urged and pushed would be more like it!) me to give the series a try.  After the first graphic novel collection, I was hooked.  A cross between the Dana Girls, Batman, and a little bit of Dark Shadows thrown in for good measure, and you've got Gotham Academy.

"The Ballad of Olive Silverlock" starts off with a one-issue tale about a haunted circus that leads their rather grumpy headmaster to some closure from his past. It is a touching tale that is a bit out of the standard norm for Gotham Academy, yet, at the same time, allows each of the characters to grow just a bit.

After that, however, comes the four-part tale that brings to a fiery conclusion the tale of young Olive Silverlock and her internal struggle with the spirit of Amity Arkham, who has been slowly taking the girl over in order to exact her revenge, not only on those who wronged her, but on all of Gotham!  It's up to Maps, Pomeline, Colton, and Kyle to figure out a way to save her from herself.  But what happens when Olive (really Amity) puts Kyle in the hospital?  Can Maps separate Amity's actions from Olive and still help save her friend, or will she let Olive fall prey to the evil spirit within her as punishment for hurting her brother?  It takes a break-in into Wayne Manor and a run-in with Damien Wayne (a/k/a Robin) to help Maps realize what is really important.

There are secret societies, masks, bat-lines, ancient incantations, deadly fires - - all this, plus Two-Face and Penguin, as well!  (Just in case you forgot this was a bat-related title.)  Plenty of mystery, plenty of mayhem, and plenty of suspense to keep you wondering whether Olive is going to make it out the other side unscathed...

Brendan Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, and Becky Cloonan definitely take this series out with a bang and provide readers with a very satisfying conclusion to a story that has been building since the very first issue of the first series.  Readers finally get the final showdown between Amity Arkham and the Detective Club, and while every subplot the series has been building does not get resolved, the major story that has headlined this book from the beginning does, and I think readers will read to the final page and feel like they've read a complete novel.  I know I did!

The question now is - what will DC do with any of these characters, if anything at all?  It seems a real shame that with the series over, we will not be seeing any more of Olive, Maps, Pomeline, Kyle, or Colton any more.  These were actually very likable characters, who were fleshed out and developed nicely over the 20 or so issues of these two Gotham Academy series.  But, I guess in an age where dark, brooding superheroes are the "in" thing, a series about a group of children in a haunted academy just isn't a bestseller (sigh).  It seems it's always the series that I really enjoy that get the boot, while DC adds 12 more Batman titles every other month.  (Hey - this was Batman-ish-related, so why not give it another shot????)

Anyway, to anyone on the border about Gotham Academy - pick them all up, as they are WELL worth the read!

RATING:  9 400-year old breathing sticks out of 10 for wrapping up this beloved series so nicely!

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