Review: Gotham Academy: Maps of Mystery

“Gotham Academy: Maps of Mystery”
Writer: Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Karl Kerschl
Color Artists: John Rauch, Msassyk
Letterers: Karl Kerschl, Steve Wands
Review by Adam Ray

Gotham Academy: Maps of Mystery is a collection of short stories about a relatively new character on the block. Mia ‘Maps’ Mizoguchi tangles with Batman on wild and unexpected adventures, all penned and illustrated by some of the industry’s best.

Every now and then DC comes out with something new and whimsical, a book that comes utterly out of left field that delights and surprises the likes of little old me.

They Make Great Pets

The feelings I got from the first story could probably be summed up best as youthful exuberance. Maps is doing the right thing by a missing friend, by going out to solve the mystery, just like every kid in an adventure novel. The caption bubbles written in the second person really drew in the storybook aspect at the beginning, but when I realized that the tale also had the tone of a Dungeons and Dragons game, one of my favorite things in the world, my excitement levels really amped up.

The artwork perfectly matched the story’s tone, as we got all the excitement a young child might feel in the great outdoors. The tale was perfectly lit with orange tones, while the sinister cool blues made us feel her right levels of uncertainty. We’re scooped up in the adventure and along for the welcome and wild ride.

Sophomore Year

Goonies never say die.

This story really unpacks the dynamic Maps has with her many friends and makes readers like myself, who may not be all that familiar with her, really interested to learn more. The connection to Batman and the wider DC universe is intriguing, and the mystery it presents is wildly different and open to many possibilities.

The Davenport House

The ambiance of this haunted house is immense. The black and white, very minimal artwork immediately gives off a haunted vibe. The theme of Batman being the haunted spirit of Gotham is a very fitting revelation, that bridges his importance throughout the city, both in the past and the present.

Seeing Maps as a full-on Robin was a natural but pleasant surprise, too. Her enthusiasm’s welcome and she naturally helps Batman quite a bit in some of his other cases.

Conclusion

Gotham Academy: Maps of Mystery is a fun collection of stories all about a quirky and welcome new addition to the Bat-family. This issue serves as a good re-introduction to those in the know, or as an excellent intro for those who’d love to know more.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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