Drama-Filled Exploration of Familiar Characters || ARC Review: Gotham High

It’s about time I got something from DC Ink that earns the title guilty-pleasure! I love pretty much everything else from them, but this is high school drama at it’s finest, with a dash of mystery for good measure.

Title: Gotham High
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: DC Ink
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Genres: YA Mystery

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Official Synopsis

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!

Quick Thoughts

  • I always like seeing how authors write Selina’s backstory, and I did enjoy seeing her as a teenager (I personally liked this take better than “Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale,” an earlier DC Ink novel).
  • Oh my gosh, the art in this book is fantastic. The deep, saturated colors and darker tones really play up the suspense and tension throughout the novel.

Lasting Impressions

The way Melissa De La Cruz casts the usual Batman characters is wonderful. They’re more diverse—for example, Alfred is gay, ‘Principal’ Gordon is a woman, and she and her daughter, Barbara, is black, and Bruce is half Chinese— with interesting backgrounds that lend some context to their future alter egos.

I noted that I enjoyed seeing Selina’s background, but I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a comic or graphic novel exploring the Joker’s background, and i really enjoyed it. I’ve heard the name Jack Napier, and I’ve heard renditions of how the Joker came to be, but I liked seeing him as a regular, relatable teenager.

I wish this graphic novel had been a little bit longer—the pacing is really fast… a little too fast, and it made it hard for me to keep up with the mystery. If there had been a bit more time for more character development and placement of clues, this likely wouldn’t have been an issue for me.

Overall Feelings

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a fun, high-drama and suspenseful graphic novel that explored a few well-loved characters backstories in a way that felt exactly like a classic high school drama.

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