Writers: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Artists: Karl Kerschl and Msassyk
The Scottish curse of Macbeth is alive and well at the Gotham Academy theater. There’s also reported sightings of a ghost and a phantom.
When we left off last month, a mysterious ghost known as Calamity (also suspected to be Olive’s deceased mother) had set fire to the theater causing chaos among the thespians. Following the fire, Maps and Olive assemble the Gotham Academy group to formulate a plan. In order to properly investigate, the kids volunteer to fill in for the now abandoned actors spots – all except Maps roommate, Katherine, who leaves disappointed after not making theater director, Simon Trent’s, cut.
But before their research begins, a Phantom is seen scurrying behind the curtains. When the students give chase, a pair of muddy footprints are found, but there’s something odd about them; they’re small, the size of a young teenage girl. However, the clue is to no avail because the trail dead-ends into a brick wall, with no sign of the culprit, as though they simply vanished into thin air.
As the students continue their search inside the theater, more muddy spots are found scattered backstage. Finally, they get a break when Maps finds a pile of items, previously stored in her dorm room closet, covered in mud. Confused, she looks up to speak and hears grunting sounds coming from close by, behind the stage curtain.
Pulling back the curtain, she exposes Katherine, or rather a “Mud Zombie” version of Katherine and behind her, a cork board tacked up with news clippings documenting a long time “beef” between Katherine’s dad and his former roommate, current Gotham Academy play director, Simon Trent.
After a panicked reaction turned question session, Katherine reveals that she is not what she appears, but is really a version of her father, the former Arkham Asylum prisoner, Clayface. No sooner do the words leave her mouth than she transforms into the mud-blob monster and reveals the reasons of distaste for Simon Trent: he stole his roles then stole his wife. The monster also reveals that he knew Olive’s mother from his time at Arkham, referring to her as “crazy.” Olive immediately takes offense and warns him about speaking negatively about her mother.
With no further ado, Clayface turns and attacks Simon Trent, but is stopped in short order by a water hose wielding Olive who soaks the mud away from the muddy form until only Katherine is left slumped on the stage.
With everything seemingly back in order the students head across campus only to run into Pomeline who shows them a news report showing that the theater fire was indeed determined to be arson. It also reports that Calamity is believed to have returned and to be the fire starter. This leaves Olive wondering, in the comic’s last frame, if her mother is indeed still alive.
All elements and literary references in this issue work seamlessly together to make this an enjoyable read at every level.