Apr 5, 2020

ARC Review--Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz & Ill. by Thomas Pitilli

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East End comes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took--even destroy the ones they love--to satisfy their own motives.

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 received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

First off, I don't really know anything about the beloved comic books that were the basis for so many different movies and spin off novels and other forms of media. I learned what I know mostly from the older movies, so diving into a graphic novel can be a bit of a struggle sometimes. I was excited to read Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz and illustrated by Thomas Pitilli, because Batman is one of my favorites when it came to the movies. Yeah, the old school ones are laughable these days, but isn't everything from way back when? When you didn't have the newer films to compare it to, that's all there was.

From the various Batman books and movies that I've read...I basically have no idea what stems from the original! I've seen so many ways Bruce's parents died and this adaptation brought about a new version! There were a lot of differences in this story that I wasn't able to tell what was from the original comics and what was changed for creative differences. Needless to say...there was quite a bit that was changed and it left me baffled and struggling to keep up! Lol.

What I did enjoy about this story was the fact that it was Bruce Wayne as a teenager and seeing everyone else that would soon play a part in his story as the Caped Crusader. Selina Kyle and Jack Napier, and Barbie Gordon, Harvey Dent. Names we know or will know further down the line. Though I was a bit puzzled with Principal Gordon and not quite knowing if she was to be the eventual Commissioner Gordon or if she was perhaps his wife...things that a non-comic book reader won't know basically! But the names I recognized!

I'm not sure if it was because I was reading this as an e-ARC, but there were narration boxes that seemed to shift between different characters and I struggled to know who was narrating. Maybe it was my computer screen, but I couldn't really see a difference in color when it came to these boxes, it usually took a few panels before I was able to grasp who the narrator was.

The story here was simple enough, Bruce is kicked out of his prep school and must return to public school where he's reunited with his childhood friend Selina Kyle. He sees the different cliques in the school and doesn't care to fit into any of them really. Then suddenly, a classmate, Harvey Dent, is kidnapped and being ransomed. Bruce suddenly finds himself playing crime solver, as we know he eventually would become one of sorts.

He thinks there's a connection to the kidnapping with a gambling group that circles about parties and whatnot and the guy who knows that most about that of course is Jack.

The kidnappings continue one by one, usually it's the rich kids being taken, suffice to say that Bruce is a likely target as well.

The results were utterly shocking! I had my suspicions about the kidnappers and some of my theories turned out right, but there were pieces of the puzzle I didn't know until all was revealed.

The animation quality to this one was very good! I enjoyed the style that Thomas used to create the panels. That there was a greater color scheme than your basic black and white or grey scale or blue scale was a nice change of pace.

I think what kept me befuddled for so long with this one was the fact that the storyline that I always knew was changed. This shouldn't be something to hold me back, but when it was one dynamic difference after another, it kind of left me with whiplash.

All in all, Gotham High wasn't a bad read. I enjoyed the storyline itself even if the past history and characters were different from what I knew of Batman. It was an enjoyable read overall and I'd recommend it to any Batman fan who's open-minded to what might be some serious differences in history.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

Gotham High releases April 7, 2020

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