*reads intro to the previous post on this series. Gets depressed* No, I'm not over the end of the DCYou that Gotham Academy was one of the instigators of, but let's ignore that for now and enjoy the next book in the series about the titular Academy, a private boarding school funded by Bruce Wayne and thankfully popular enough that it's survived the scorched earth of the DC Rebirth. Our main characters are the mysterious Olive Silverlock and her best friend the gloriously enthusiastic and geeky Mia "Maps" Mizoguchi. Then there is the rest of their "Detectives Club", the somewhat snooty girl Pommeline, wheeler dealer boy Colton and the laid back brother-to-Maps, Kyle. Their club is to investigate the links between the Academy and Arkham Asylum after they found clues relating to that in book one as well as looking into any other strange goings on. Olive has a dark secret that her mum was in Arkham Asylum before it collapsed, and Olive herself has exhibited some strange behaviour most notably when she was found walking into a fire that closed off part of the school when she was staying there over summer. It looks like she might have caused the it and she was rescued by the brooding student Tristan who is a were-bat, but she doesn't however remember why or how she did it. The last book ended with Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne's son enrolling in the school ostensibly to keep an eye on things. So time to find out what happens next. Written by Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher and beautifully illustrated in a western manga style by Karl Kerschl.
Before we get to the Calamity arc proper, we get an issue shining a sppotlight on uber nerd Maps which is drawn by Minjue Helen Chen in a similar style to Karl Kerschl's. We begin in her English literature class where they are studying "The Raven". She however is drawing up her ideal "Serpents and Spells" RPG group and writes the name of Eric in her book using the quill pen she liberated when they did some light theiving of the headmaster's office in book one.
Mr. Scarlet the teacher asks her a question about the text and she is unable to answer. As Mr. Scarlet lectures her Eric lunges at him, only to be tackled by new boy Damian Wayne. He then tells Mr. Scarlet:
Damian: "These children are right to rebel against the teaching of such useless drivel Scarlet... they should be strengthening their bodies, preparing to defend themselves for the day some villain decides to raze this decrepid academy to the ground".
Maps is awe-struck and crosses Eric's name out of her book. After class she goes to find Olive, but finds Professor MacPherson there instead getting some things. Maps hopes Olive is OK and says she wanted to tell her about the new kid in class. MacPherson tells her he's called Damian Wayne.
|Damian and Maps get stuck together.|
Maps drags Damian to see Pommeline, who has become a bit of an expert on magic. She figures out that when Eric attacked Mr. Scarlet earlier because she wrote his name with the quill he was under a magic spell and the quill was attempting to "protect" her.
Damian refuses to believe it's the magic quill, he thinks he's being targeted because he is a Wayne. Suddenly Pommeline pushes Damian through the window taking Maps with him. He winds up hanging off the sill with Maps underneath him. Fortunately he has a grapple gun on his belt. She fires it at a opposite roof and they swing across to safety.
|Maps has an idea.|
When MacPherson hears about the spell's effects on others she says it reminds her of a place near where she grew up in Scotland called "Inishtree". Damian says there is Castle Wayne there, where his ancestor "Contarf Wayne" lived. MacPherson says there have been tales of black birds secretly ruling Inishtree for ages. As well as an incident where the towns children ran amok. They were later found to be under the influence of a type of Avian Flu. Batman thought the threat was over when the Wayne castle hawks sprang into action and all the black birds eggs were smashed, but the birds that laid the eggs were never found.
Maps says the quill must be made from the feathers of one of those birds, "it's a demon pen!". Damian refuses to believe that, but thinks it's an odd coincidence. MacPherson and her dog come along to help them find the bird and the quill. But outside are a possessed seeming Pommeline, Colton and Kyle. Using the grapple gun they escape again and find MacPherson and her dog. Then they spot the erstwhile bird.
Damian hurls a batarang at it. The bird drops the quill and Mr. Scarlet appears and picks it up. He says the quill carries Avian Flu which their friends have been exposed to. Damian says it's a curable science problem, Maps says it's the quill's magic. Them being stuck together proves it.
Scarlet says they were never bound together, they made a choice. If the release their grip now they'll be free of each other. Which is what happens much to their confusion. "I thought we made the perfect team" says Map's sadly. Then headmaster Hammer appears and tells them he wants to see them in his study.
|Damian gives Maps a gift.|
Hammer: "I consider it a good day when I expel a Wayne from my academy. It's been years since I had the pleasure. You truly are your father's son Damian. And I'm sure, like him you find your own unique path outside these great halls".
As he leaves Maps chases after him and shows him her book she had dropped in the cemetary, their names have been crossed out which she thinks released them from the power of the quill. Maps then thanks him and he responds by giving her a batarang saying she might need it some day before departing. Her excitment is shortlived however when MacPherson appears to tell her some bad news about Olive.
We then cut to the rainy funeral of Olive's mother. Maps wants to go and comfort Olive but Kyle says to leave her alone in her grief for now. However he goes on to watch with narrowed eyes as Olive and Tristan speak to each other. In the car home Maps says to Kyle if he can imagine what it must be like not to have a mom anymore.
Kyle stays brooding on what he saw, he goes to tennis practice where he is out of sorts then spots Tristan spying on him through the fence. He sneaks off and follows Tristan who is visiting one of the science teachers, a Doctor Langstrom. Kyle peeks in on them as they converse about a mysterious third person, Langstrom says "I may have to delay research into your condition to contend with the fallout" as Tristan takes his top off.
|Tristan the Man-Bat.|
Olive: "Sure that's fine. But you know what you can't do? Tell me who I can and can't hang around with".
Kyle blurts out that Tristan is a Man-bat, but Olive just tells him to grow up (she already knows this as seen in volume one). She stalks off to a Guidance Appointment.
Then Map's voice comes from the wall, she is lurking in one of the secret passages and overheard the whole thing and thinks it's terribly exciting. Kyle wants to use the tunnels to get to Tristan before he sees Olive. She is at a counselling session, which Kyle and Maps listen in on briefly before moving onto Tristan's room.
He catches them in the act though and Kyle confronts him saying he wants some answers. Tristans responds by transforming and flying out of the window. They follow him to the graveyard and finding him lying injured on the ground, he pleads with them to take him to Doctor Langstrom, he can't be out here tonight.
Doctor Langstrom examines him saying it looks bad and that they need to get Professor McPherson. Olive goes to get her, while Kyle goes to find Olive. She is standing by the lake and when Kyle tells her about Tristan she gets very concerned. She has been crying and when Kyle tells her there is more to Tristan than meets the eye she responds, "it's.. it's not him I should be telling you about. It's me."
|Olive and Kyle smooch.|
She tells him to go and she'll follow right behind, as he shuffles of despondently she suddenly spots a letter floating in the water. She picks it up and it turns out to be a postumous letter from her mum which says Olive was taken from her and surrounded by people who would hide the truth from her, "but always remember. I loved you".
Then Maps appears behind her along with Pommeline, Colton and Kyle. Pommeline demands to know what Olive has behind her back, but Olive won't show her the letter. Maps tells Olive there is a monster on the campus terrorising people, this looks like a job for their Detective Club.
They go to where Tristan was attacked and find a clue, a patch of what looks like wolf hair. Colton says he can analyse it in his secret lab to confirm what it is. The lab turns out to be a trailer, tricked out with all sorts of scientific equipment. Maps refers to it as a "lair". Colton says it is not a lair, he calls it "Monte Carlo".
He then discovers it is indeed wolf hair and Pommeline says they have a werewolf on their hands. She fills them in on werewolf mythology, she says ancient curse, Colton wonders if it could be a virus. She says whatever it is they need silver to protect themselves with. Then they notice Olive has disappeared.
|Colton and Pommeline join the investigation.|
Maps charges, in hears her and says "nothing is impossible Olive!". She has a silver necklace for her to protect her from the werewolf. Olive thanks her and tells her about Catherine being there. Maps starts dragging Olive off to confront the were-wolf but Olive wants to go and speak with Professor Strange first.
She demands to know more about what she read in her school admisson notes about her mum being a "costumed freak" and that Olive needing "watching over". She says she thought she was here on a Wayne Scholarship, but actually she's been placed there. Strange says only headmaster Hammer knows the details, and also has special interest in another student, heavily implied to be Tristan.
Olive and Maps then go and visit Tristan, he is laid out being treated by Doctor Langstrom. The kindly Professor MacPherson is also there. Olive plaintively says her mum was a villain, and why didn't she tell her? "Oh Olive love, it's complicated" says MacPherson. "When is it not?" says Olive sadly.
She goes and talks with Tristan and tells him how they have both been placed at the school to have an eye kept on them. Tristan says Batman bought him here, the old science teacher "Milo" was supposed to treat him, but instead he used Tristan's DNA to turn others in to what he is. Doctor Langstrom is "racing against the clock to find a way to reverse..." and he gets cut off by a huge werewolf crashing through the window.
The Detective Club run downstairs and find Tristan hurt and alone. They hear a howling coming from close to the gymnasium. Their plan is to take the tunnels to the gymn, evactuate the building, spray silver paint everywhere, drop a net on him, bash him with a silver plated golf club, then when he is unconcious, place charms around him to turn him back.
Maps: "What could possibly go wrong?"
They run to the gym, but the werewolf is lying in wait. He confronts Olive when suddenly a strange ghostly figure appears behind her and exhorts her to use her fire powers. It tells her to burn the wolf, burn the school, burn Gotham to the ground. She starts to power up, then Colton appears and stuns the wolf with a stun dart.
The others ask what Olive did, but she can't remember. Colton then says it was him who took the wolf out, which has reverted to the form of Coach Humphrey. The dart was filled with antidote he concocted with Langstrom, "Just saved the day. No big".
With Milo gone, no one was helping Humphrey keep his animal side in check. Langstrom and MacPherson find them and take a befuddled Humphrey away. As the Detective Club walk back to their dorms, Pommeline says she needs to talk to Olive privately.
She says she stole the note Olive's mum wrote to her. Olive is angry at this breach of privacy, but Pommeline said she has done some digging on the "Calamity" person her mum was. She then says she was only trying to help, but then Olive sees the same ghostly figure on the school stage and it sets it on fire.
Olive and Pommeline rush out, Olive says that was her mum. Pommeline says it wasn't her mum and starts to say their mothers are connected, but gets cut off leaving a juicy plot thread dangling for now. The drama teacher - Simon Trent - comes rushing out too and Pommeline says seeing a ghost means time for another investigation.
|Simon Trent laments while Katherine watches.|
The rest of the gang sign up too for this production of MacBeth. They have to double up some parts so Olive, Pommeline and Maps get to be the three witches as well. At a rehearsal though the lighting cues go all wrong. They go up to the box to see what's happening and the boy doing them is freaked out about seeing "the phantom".
Olive says it's not a phantom, it's her mum's doing all this. "Calamity is back in Gotham" she says. Maps is hurt Olive shared this with Pommeline and not her, she thought they were best friends. Olive reassures her she still is, then Colton finds muddy footprints leading away from the scene. Olive says but she was so sure it was her mum.
We then cut to her in Strange's office telling him she seen Calamity several times now since the funeral. She confesses Calamity has been telling her to do "wicked" things. He advises her not to continue her extra-curricular activities for now saying they might lead her down a bad road.
|Schools ALWAYS do either MacBeth or Romeo and Juliet, and not because they are good, but because they are Shakespeares shortest plays.|
They follow the mud to Maps and Katherine's room and Maps and Olive gingerly call out to Katherine. She screams at them with a melty face then turns into a flowing line of mud and schlurps out of the window. Pommeline appears and points to some photos that show Katherine has a beef with Simon Trent.
They go back to the theatre and Katherine is there. When they confront her, mud rises up around her and forms the Batman villain "Clayface". He says Trent "stole my best roles. Then he stole my wife." Katherine is just one aspect of his true form, "she existed to do my bidding".
This dissolves the mud and leaves only Katherine behind, turns out Clayface was her "papa". As Maps and Olive leave the theatre with her, Maps offers to have Katherine over for Thanksgiving at her house. Then Pommeline comes up and shows them a newspaper headline and it says, "Fire Deemed Arson. Calamity Returns To Gotham City". Olive is confused now, is her mum still alive?
Back in counselling with Professor Strange, Olive talks about her mother and how she thinks she might be alive. She going to accompany the tennis club's trip into Gotham to go and try and search out more evidence about her mum. Strange advises against it, but Olive is resolute.
They arrive in Gotham, Pommeline and Colton are also there. They make their plan, Colton and Pommeline will go to Pommeline's mother's law office to dig through the Silverlock file, while Maps and Olive will go to the city's paper records office.
To top things off, Maps dons a domino mask and says "this is the best plan ever". After some roof clambering, she and Olive get inside the building the records office is in. They avoid a security guard and then start their search. Olive thanks Maps for all the effort she's gone to.
Maps: "You don't need to thank me. We're best friends. That's what BFFs do. Besides how would you find the records room without your Maps?".
The find the records room and handily, the Silverlock file has been left out on top of a filing cabinet. She tells Maps to stand guard while she reads it.
|Red Robin discovers them.|
They chat about all Robin phenomenom then he says he needs to scour the record room. Maps tries to stop him and blurts out that Olive needs more time to find out about Calamity. This sends us into a Robin narrated flashback. A whole block of flats was burned down. Batman and Robin Mk.1 went and helped rescue people and came up against Calamity. Dick managed to bring down the ceiling on her head and knock her out.
Batman had Sybil Silverlock put away, but things were more complicated than they seemed. She wasn't the first Calamity to terrorise Gotham City. And when it was discovered she had a daughter, Batman put her where she wouldn't grow up to be like her mum and be watched.
Then we cut to Olive reading about generations of Silverlocks all going by the name Calamity. "Is this what my future holds?" Then Calamity appears saying now she knows the truth she can face it. Robin and Maps realise there is a fire and go to see whats happening and see the strange ghostly form facing Olive. Maps and Robin fight her off and she disappears saying "Olive weeeeee shall meet again..."
|Calamity in action.|
With Katherine having been persuaded to disguise herself as Maps to keep her parents happy, Maps herself and Olive get reading to make a trip to Arkham Asylum with the others. Colton and Pommeline pull up in a swanky car, Pommeline says not to ask where they got the wheels.
As they drive up to the Asylum, Pommeline drops the bombshell on Olive that Sybil killed Olive's dad. She tells Olive that Calamity could "really hurt you". When Olive mumbles that her mum told her that her dad died in a car accident, Pommeline says she thought Olive knew the truth, "well now you do. You're welcome".
|The Detective Club off to rescue Kyle.|
Inside Pommeline asks if they think Olive is really mad at her. Colton says he'd be surprised if she ever talks to her again after the bomb she just dropped. Pommeline doesn't know why she said what she did. They then discuss how to find Kyle in this maze. Maps calls his name and gets an immediate response, "Maps? Help! I'm down here!" he shouts up through a hole in the floor.
Outside Olive sees Calamity and goes chasing after her. Maps and the others find the door to the cell Kyle is locked in. She asks him why Calamity brought him out here. Kyle responds that it wasn't Calamity. The door also doesn't have a lock for the key. Then Pommeline finds the weird symbol and puts the key into the hole in the middle which unlocks the door and they grab Kyle just as he falls into the hole he was clinging to the edge of.
Olive enters the room she saw Calamity go into and sees a white wig on the table. Then Professor Strange appears, he tells her that her mother was a patient of his once. But she refused him access to Calamity. "She held on to the hope of living a normal life with you" he tells her.
|Strange reveals his secret villany.|
Strange: "Calamity is that you? You didn't finish telling me about the tunnels. What did you hide in the tunnels? Calamity reveal yourself to me!"
Then we cut to the others arrving in the room which is on fire and Olive standing in the middle of it. They ask if Strange hurt her, she just says "It was Calamity... she saved me". They have to get out of the Asylum quick as it's starting to collapse some more. They get outside but falling masonry takes out the car.
Maps says they can walk back through the tunnels, "What? It'll be fun...and if we're lucky we'll stumble upon a new mystery". We then cut to Olive talking to Professor MacPherson who says she'll be there for Olive when she wants to talk. But Olive just thinks to herself:
Olive: "I wanted to tell her everything. About Professor Strange, about my mum. But I don't feel like it. Not right now. She thinks I need a shoulder to cry on, but actually I don't. I actually feel good. For the first time in a long time, I feel whole."
|Olive is left with plenty to think about.|