Gotham High: Graphic Novel Review

Gotham High takes future DC heroes and villains back to high school and injects some good ol’ teenage drama directly into their veins. An addictive story, stunning illustrations, and beautiful coloring makes this graphic novel a must have of the season.
Rating: 4.5 Stars

This graphic novel was sent to me by DC Comics for free for reviewing. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are complete my own and not influenced in any way.

Gotham High
Melissa de la Cruz
Illustrator: Thomas Pitilli
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: April 7, 2020
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!

Gotham High takes the classic characters of Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle, and Jack Napier, and spins them into a modern teen story filled with twists, betrayals, and addictive drama.

After being expelled from Arkham Preparatory School for Boys, Bruce Wayne is sent to Gotham High School by his uncle and trust fund manager, Alfred. Bruce is reunited with his childhood friend, Selina Kyle, who has grown from an innocent girl next door to a power player in the high school circles. Soon after Bruce’s arrival at Gotham High, a kidnapping gone wrong sends Bruce on a path to find the perpetrator. But nothing is what it seems in this case and Bruce soon finds that there is more to the kidnapping than he thought.

Gotham High is pitched as “Gossip Girl-Meets- Riverdale-meets the DC universe” and wow is that just the most accurate statement ever. Melissa de la Cruz crafts a wild high school story for these classic DC characters and it just works. Thomas Pitilli’s illustrations perfectly capture the feel of the story. Crisp, vibrant colors are balanced with darker, grittier panels and it all comes together to blend illustration and story.

Though we see the story from the three main character’s POVs, the real breakout star is Selina. We see her struggle to take care of her ailing father while fighting against the strict rules of her trust fund placed by her deceased mother’s parents. Selina is a complex character and I liked the twists on her origin story.

I’m gonna let y’all know right now that there is a love triangle in this one. BUT, before y’all walk away, just trust me that it’s different from the dreaded triangles of the past. Things play out differently than you might anticipate and I liked the way the trope was subverted.

While the story is high in teenage drama, it is utterly addicting and the perfect escapist read for the current times. I read the novel in one sitting and found myself desperately wanting more when I finished. I will most certainly be ready for another session at Gotham High when it comes around.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: suicide, bullying, death of parents, sick parents, child neglect. This may not be a complete list of all triggers.

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