Review by Booklist Review
After 16-year-old Bruce Wayne is expelled from boarding school for fighting, he returns to Gotham City, where he enrolls in Gotham High. There, he reacquaints himself with neighbor--and narrator--Selina Kyle, as well as bad boy Jack Napier. When fellow student Harvey Dent, after being mistaken for Bruce, is kidnapped and held for ransom, Bruce sets out to find the culprit. Superhero fans will appreciate this fresh take on the Batman universe, meeting young superheroes and supervillains before they emerge into their future personas. De la Cruz has shaped a diverse cast of characters by taking welcome liberties with their backstories: Bruce's mother is a Hong Kong native, his uncle Alfred is married to John Pennyworth, and Selina is Latinx. The story maintains the gritty style found in the Tom King series, yet it paints the characters sympathetically, portraying them as typical teenagers (vaping, flirting, making out). Pitilli's illustrations are detailed and Rodriguez's colors dark, enhancing the mysterious tone. Offer this to fans of teenage superhero tales, especially the DC Icons series.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up--Before they were DC headliners, Bruce Wayne, Selina Garcia Kyle, and Jack Napier were teenagers trying to cope in the brutal world of high school. Narrated by Selina, this tale follows Bruce's return to Gotham High after being expelled from boarding school. Bruce befriends Selina and Jack, and when fellow student Harvey Dent is kidnapped and held for ransom, Bruce investigates with the help of his uncle Alfred. All the clues lead Bruce to suspect his friends' involvement, but nothing is ever as it seems in Gotham. Jealousy mounts as both Bruce and Jack vie for Selina's affections. Full of intrigue and betrayal, this drama-laden graphic novel offers a new take on the motivations and origins of Batman, Catwoman, and the Joker. De la Cruz subverts classic DC lore by including well-known characters in new roles: Principal Gordon is an overworked mom whose daughter "Barbie" attends Gotham High, the infamous "Poison" Ivy is a local apothecary clerk with knowledge of questionable herbs, and Alfred is Bruce's uncle back from business in Hong Kong. Pitilli adeptly sets an ominous tone with a gorgeous, dark palette and thoughtful character designs. Unfortunately, despite the diverse cast and expressive art, the book suffers from far too much rich kid angst and not enough depth to make the payoff at the end seem plausible. VERDICT While some readers will enjoy this tale, others may find it shallow. Recommended for casual comics readers and fans of teen melodrama.--Lara Goldstein, Orange County Public Libraries, NC
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
The high school beginnings of favorite Batman comic characters.Seventeen-year-old Bruce Wayne just got kicked out of the fancy boarding school his Uncle Alfred sent him to when his parents died. Now he's back in Gotham City, living in the family home and attending Gotham High. Bruce runs into his childhood neighbor Selina Garcia Kyle, who invites him to a party where he meets cardsharp Jack Napier, who becomes a new friend. One day, high school classmate Harvey Dent is kidnapped while trying on Bruce's leather coat, and Bruce gets shot with a tranquilizer dart. Bruce, convinced he, not Harvey, was the real target, goes on a hunt to find the truth. As he uncovers more information, he discovers that his new friends aren't what they seem. Narrated by Selina, the story puts Batman, the Joker, Catwoman, and other Batman favorites into a teenage setting, giving them more of a backstory. De la Cruz's (The Queen's Assassin, 2020, etc.) graphic-novel debut is dark and alluring. The characters do what they need to survive, creating suspense. Pitilli's (Archie, 2019, etc.) vivid and captivating illustrations are the highlight of this graphic novel, and the darker palette adds to the ominous feel. Bruce's mother was Chinese from Hong Kong, and his father's ethnicity is not specified; Selina is Latinx, and there is diversity in secondary characters.Fast-paced and entertaining. (Graphic fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.