Gotham Academy, Vol. 2: Calamity by Becky Cloonan
WARNING! POTENTIAL SPOILERS!
Waiting for the next volume of your favorite comic book series is like waiting for the next season of your favorite TV show to stream on Netflix. Sometimes it takes too long, so you forget certain details that help the story in the new volume make sense. (Of course, if the next volume is released too soon, it is flimsy and often not worth the purchase price.)
I forgot what happened Volume 1 of GOTHAM ACADEMY so it took a little effort to re-engage with the members of the “Detective Club.” The introduction of Damian Wayne at the end of Volume 1 was what I remember most. It promised additional intrigue (even if only tangential) but ended up being just a distraction once I started Volume 2.
John Hughes’ BREAKFAST CLUB is my benchmark for angsty teen kids clubs. Bender, Claire, Andy, Brian, and Allison are my prototypes for unhappy teens and tweens. Olive, Mia, Kyle, Colton, and Pomeline are Gotham’s Academy’s “Breakfast Club” though Mia, the youngest, most optimistic, and spirited of the club has dubbed them the “Detective Club.”
Volume 2 continues to explore the mystery of Olive’s mother, a supervillain named Calamity, and adds more pages to Tristan Grey’s story. He is infected with the Man-Bat virus that causes him to change into a giant half-man-half-bat monster. He is at the school while Dr. Langstrom (the original Man-Bat) attempts to cure him. Volume 2 also exposes Katherine’s lineage. Katherine is Mia’s roommate at the Academy. I hope the writers spend some more time on her story in Volume 3.
The way she is introduced as Clayface’s daughter would have been depicted more gorily by another artist for another book but for Gotham Academy it is appropriate as is and still shocking. Clayface literally keeps her imprisoned inside him (inside his body). At first I thought she was human and imprisoned then it is revealed that she is the same as her father (at least in biology). She is “clay” as well.
From what I understood, she was literally made by her father. He used his clay parts to mold her. She exists outside of him (meaning the two can function as separate entities) – imagine a molding a clump of Playdoh into a human figure and then taking a part of the figure to mold a new smaller figure. The idea of her as being “alive” outside of Clayface offers so many intriguing possibilities. However, in Volume 2, despite introducing her past in such a dramatic way, the writers just shuttle her away with Mia’s parents (she was disguised as Mia).
I’m looking forward to reading Volume 3. I enjoyed GOTHAM ACADEMY volumes 1 and 2. It’s not an emotionally heavy story but the characters are likeable and curious enough to want to know more. Despite being the youngest member of the Detective Club, Mia is really the catalyst of the events in the story. I am curious to see what happens when she mopes or her lust for life falls into self-doubt. The others rely on youthful exuberance to call them to action. What would happen if they had to do it on their own?