Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschel, Serge Lapointe, Msassyk
Karl Kerschel is arguably the biggest reason why I was sold on Gotham Academy when it was initially announced. I’ve been a fan of Kerschel’s rich, expressive style for years, and seeing his gorgeous cover art when the book was first unveiled had me HYPED for the title. Granted every creator on this book has done some great work, Kerschel’s art has been incredible, being some of the best work coming out of comics over the last year. I mention this now because hours after I snagged my copy of Gotham Academy #12, it was announced via Twitter that Karl’s run as artist on this title was over.
Kerschel’s departure from Gotham Academy is a real shame. He really defined the look of the book, and I’m worried about it’s future now that he’s off it. It’s also a shame because his final issue on the book is kind of lackluster. There’s several plot bombs dropped regarding the character of Olivia, but none of them are given enough time to be explored. Especially the biggest one of them all, the identity of Calamity, which has been the driving point of this arc and the book several times. I assume they’ll be some answers when the third arc starts in a few issues, BUT I’m impatient and want some answers now.
My biggest problem with this issue is the pacing. There’s too many panels/pages where the creative team felt that it more important to focus on jokes that are just okay ( at least in my opinion) and chewed up scenery instead of dealing with the plot itself. I usually dig the cute character moments, but when there’s 2 major bombshells are dropped, I wish writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher spend more time on those then dealing with tunnel gags and jail cells without floors.
Visually though, this book is excellent. What Kerschel brings to this final issue is phenomenal, much like every issue he’s worked on before it. I may not be a fan of the humor bits in this issue, but his line art is fantastic, giving a sense of movement and life into every panel. Of course Serge Lapointe, & Msassyk factor in heavily on the book looking so good, giving the Karl’s art some gorgeous colors. The book’s tone get darker as the book advances, and the colors really reflect that. But the best example of the colorists comes when we get our first shot of Arkham Asylum in this issue. The coloring gives us a nice supernatural vibe to the scene, with some really great use of the color green. The backgrounds in GA are unlike anything else in comics today, and it’s thanks to the colorist.
Gotham Academy #12 is a rare misstep in a usually sold series. I wish Karl Kerschel would have gone out on a higher note, but it happens. Hopefully whoever follows up to him will be just as talented, because they obviously have some large shoes to fill. As for issue number 12, again it looks great, but it just didn’t work for me overall.