Title: Gotham High
Author: Melissa de la Cruz [Author] & Thomas Pitilli [Illustrator]
Publisher: DC Ink
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Target
After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.
When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect.
With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!
I first want to say that this rating is solely based on the plot/ characters of the story. In regards to the illustration, I would give it 5 stars. Thomas Pitilli masterfully created vivid backgrounds drops throughout the graphic novel. They were able to capture colors for each tension building scene, blend different color styles to visually making the story pleasing and overall wrapped it up beautifully. There was a grittiness to their illustration that definitely gave me a tough New York-esque kind of feel.
While the illustration was vibrant and creative, the story did not capture me as well. Initially, I was excited to see a bit of a modern twist to the classic Batman story. This was before Bruce Wayne became Batman, Selina Kyle became Catwoman and when all were just teens. We get introductions form the two along with Ivy and Alfred. The story fell short for me in the character department. I felt that with some characters, there was no development, while with other, the development felt rushed. I was also confused with some of the foreshadowing in the story. Without spoiling any part, there was some foreshadowing towards a character that I wasn’t entirely sure the author want to hint at a possible future villain, with that character being said villain. At times, I thought this was the case, but the personality of the character would throw me off and have me question what I thought.
In terms of characters, I found Bruce to be extremely arrogant. Although, yes, we have seen him in this nature – it almost felt like he was the rich kid who flaunted his money to get anyone to do anything and that trope is overplayed in my book. Selina Kyle was a conflicting character to like. The parts that I liked about her [Her ability to be a bad-ass mastermind], I loved and the parts I didn’t enjoy were parts where with enough character development could have been executed so well. Jack was a hopeless romantic and a poor kid. What I didn’t enjoy about his character had nothing to do with his character at all but how the author gave him a stereotypical ‘poor kid’ parents [parents who suffer form substance and alcohol abuse].
[Possible Spoiler!!] Let’s talk about the weird love triangle between three characters. It didn’t feel organic to me and much like some of the character’s development of the story, felt a bit rushed. Although, there was one character who I actually felt was really crushing one of the main characters. Did I feel bad for them? At times, I did. But, with the overall rush to quickly develop the love triangle and with how it was portrayed like the two were at war for what they considered their chance/ownership [YUCK!], it was hard to continue on a enjoy it all.
Overall, the story was okay. I can see how the author wanted to change it up a bit and I do appreciate the effort. However, it fell flat for me because the story line at times felt detached, which made it easy for me to lose focus and interest. The plot had a promise in seeing Bruce as a teen before he becomes the superhero we know, seeing Selina slowly grow into Catwoman and other characters potentially becoming the civilians of Gotham City and ended Selina being portrayed as a very unlikable character even though there was a good motive to her actions, Jack’s character staying in limbo and Bruce going back to being whoever the author wanted him to be.
While this graphic novel wasn’t a win for me, I do think it could be a great read for others who enjoy a twist to a classic or readers going into the DC world and want a more modern backdrop to the Batman origin story.