Archive | June, 2015

Gotham Academy

23 Jun

If there is a comic book that I wouldn’t think I would enjoy, it is Gotham Academy.  I am 34, a history teacher, and a father of 3.  Teenagers being overly dramatic is what my life revolves around and typically I want my entertainment to be about escaping those bounds.  I love Superman because he is the world’s greatest hero.  I love Green Lantern because he has a ring that can do anything and solve any problem.  Neither of those are options for me.  And yet, I have found, that a comic book about teachers in a school of crazy kids is one of the most original books out there and it really is as close to perfect as any other book on the market currently.

The book’s teachers are classic “B-rated” villains.  Bookworm was one of those crazy characters that could have only been in Adam West’s Bat-universe and yet he is the school librarian.  I can’t help but wonder when he will kidnap children in his quest to rule Gotham’s literary circles.  Aunt Harriet is the school ma’am responsible for the girls’ dormitory.  And yet, if you recall your Batman ’66, she is the woman who couldn’t figure out that special glowing red phone meant Bruce and Dick had a secret life (and not the type that Grant Morrison likes to allude to!).

And then there’s the kids.  One of the characters is named Maps! And she loves RPGs, one of my favorite gaming fixations.  And I am really not sure if she realizes life isn’t a big RPG, as she walks around and discusses her need for mail armor or lock picking skills.  The star reminds me of some of my favorite students: moody, bright, and obsessed with Batman. She has boyfriend drama and super-secretive teenage stalker issues.  And Killer Croc stalker issues, in one of the character’s most fun roles since Tiny Titans’ All Croc issue.

The entire book reads like a modern day Scooby adventure.  To help drive home that fact, there are fake ghosts hiding around every secret passage way you can find in the school.  The headmaster has that “is he the secret evil villain or just another red herring” personality that Scooby Do mastered in my childhood. And in closing, like my favorite Scooby episodes ever, Batman occasionally guest-stars.  I admit it: I am in love with a teenage angsty-drama!

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Grayson Volume 1

9 Jun

I must confess when Grayson was launched, I really wasn’t all that interested.  The idea of Dick Grayson being a spy with a gun seemed to run counter to everything I liked about the character.  And honestly, I never really read many solo titles about him anyway.  I loved Snyder’s run with him as Batman in Detective Comics several years ago and I enjoyed the early volumes of his new 52 series but I hadn’t read much more than that.  And the promotional image telling fans we didn’t know Dick, just seemed……well, right up there with DC’s other promotional mishaps of late: the WTF covers from several years ago or the “Draw Harley naked and committing suicide” fiasco.  So imagine my surprise when I had the chance to read a promotional copy of Grayson volume 1 from Netgalley, and found that I really enjoyed the story.

Now, I do want to say, there were still parts of the book that I didn’t care for.  Although I am a huge fan of DC comics, I must confess I have never cared much for Grant Morrison’s writing, so I had no background information on Spyral and found the spy organization to be somewhat derivative of Chase, a wonderful and offbeat DC title from my youth.  Replace the mysterious leader with no face with Mr. Bones, the head of the DEO who has no face (just a skull) and you are good to go.  And I will say, at least in the digital promotional copy, the last chapter accidentally duplicates the prior chapter.  I hope they fix that in the print copy or regular digital copy.

Other than those two minor complaints, though, I will say the majority of the book was really fun.  The characters were fun to read.  Dick’s relationship with his partner (former Huntress) was interesting.  She is the classic spy who only sees the work and he is Dick Grayson, the hero with the heart of gold.  A brief romantic interest is introduced and handled in a way I didn’t see. Finally, the overarching mystery of “super body part implants” was a different type of threat than you normally see in the superhero comics I read.

From what I understand, Tom King, writer of the series, was in the CIA.  That fact is apparent when you read the series.  He writes the spy world the way I imagine it to be.  Cloaks and daggers are everywhere and outside of our title hero, probably no one can be trusted. I like that.  I believe this series has a great deal of potential and look forward to the second volume.