Comic Review: Gotham High (DC Comics)

Gotham High, a new graphic novel from DC, starts out ‘high’ indeed, with an aerial view of Gotham City at night. But the difference between a regular Batman story and […]

Gotham High, a new graphic novel from DC, starts out ‘high’ indeed, with an aerial view of Gotham City at night. But the difference between a regular Batman story and this tale are, well, night and day.

In this reimagining of the young pre-Batman days of Bruce Wayne and many of the other foundational characters in the Batman universe, Bruce is suddenly expelled from Arkham Preparatory School for Boys. It’s a long way down to Gotham High, where the young Bruce resumes his studies. It’s a whole new world of the non-wealthy.

His uncle Alfred, from China, is ‘sort of’ overseeing Bruce’s adolescence. Bruce soon encounters fellow Gotham High students Jack Napier, and Selina Kyle, making this a fun twist on the usual dogma and catastrophe-laden Batman tale. Then, amidst perplexing love situations, late-night gambling, teenage angst, and anguish, the story develops.

It’s written by Melissa de la Cruz, author of over 30 young adult books, some of them on the NYT bestseller list. Cruz’s ability to encapsulate teen drama is evident here. The scenes, situations, and settings may be a bit formulaic (some kids have sick parents, lead a latchkey existence, and are looking for meaning in their young lives) at times, but still contribute to plot points. And the plot is a good one.

The art by Thomas Pitilli ( Archie, Riverdale) is appealing. The characters are well defined; Bruce looks vaguely Asian, Jack moves like a slender, aggressive fellow would. The school scenes ring with drama and peer pressure. The layouts are exuberant, with figures striding, gesturing, emoting. Nice colour work by Miguel Muerto (Something is Killing the Children, Bleed Them Dry). Muerto keeps it fuchsia, turquoise and yellow. amping up the colour palette when the drama gets intense. Lettering is by Troy Peteri (Witchblade).

It’s a compelling story, filled with back alleys, backstabbing, discovery, and suspense. Ideal for someone who is new to the Batman world, and wants a fresh new take on Gotham!

DC, Gotham High, $16.99 for 208 pages, Teen

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!