Published by: DC Ink
Written by: Melissa de la Cruz
Illustrated by: Thomas Pitilli
Expelled from his elite, all boys prep school, a teenage Bruce Wayne returns to his local Gotham High. Haunted by grief and guilt over his parent’s death, Bruce has been angry and getting into fights. His famed butler, Alfred Pennyworth, is also grieving; Bruce’s mother Grace was also Alfred’s sister.
At Gotham High Bruce is reunited Selina Garcia Kyle, his childhood sweetheart. Now the primary caregiver for her father due to his early-onset Alzheimer’s, Selina is also grieving the loss of her mother from a fatal car accident. Teaming up with Bruce once again, Selina invites Bruce back into her life. She introduces him to her best friend, Jack Napier, poker games and bowery parties.
Back at Gotham High, a random case of mistaken identity leaves Bruce unconscious and Harvey Dent mysteriously kidnapped. Even though he is now in the hospital, Bruce is determined to start solving this case right away. Slipping out of the hospital, Bruce ends up in Chinatown. There, he meets a young apothecary clerk named Ivy. Ivy helps Bruce identify the illegal drugs found in Bruce’s blood after the incident.
After he meets with Principal Gordon and learns there is no video footage of the incident, Bruce also finds a random strand of hair at the school’s security guard’s desk. Bruce begins to feel as though Harvey’s kidnapping may be linked to the poker games where Jack and his friends cheat rich students out of their money. After he gets an invitation to the next party, Bruce arrives only to spend a lot of time flirting with Selina throughout the night. As he drops Selina off at the end of the night, Bruce makes sure they almost kiss. Just missing the kiss, however, Bruce actually uses this moment to collect a strand of Selina’s hair.
Bruce identifies the new strand of hair as matching that of the strand of hair found on Gotham High’s security guard’s desk. Both hairs are Selina’s! Is this a coincidence or a new piece of evidence in the mystery surrounding Gotham High and its student body’s poker obsession?
Meanwhile, Harvey Dent returns to school and directs his anger at Bruce. Frustrated by Harvey’s anger and still wanting to solve the mysterious drugging and kidnapping, Bruce’s inner-investigator becomes set on hosting the biggest party of the year. At his party, Bruce finds out that this mystery is much more complicated and mysterious.
Language Arts Elements of Story
Plot: Bruce Wayne has been kicked out of his all boys prep school and returns to Gotham High. Befriending his childhood sweetheart Selina Garcia Kyle, Selina introduces Bruce to Gotham High life and to her best friend Jack Napier and his poker-playing parties and friends. After Bruce is illegally drugged and Harvey Dent kidnapped, however, Bruce starts to realize that something is not quite right at Gotham High. In fact, something quite mysterious and suspicious is occurring at Gotham High.
Settings: Gotham City, Arkham Preparatory School for Boys, Acadia Park, Gotham High School, Angel Bethesda Fountain, Wayne Manor, Gotham State Building, Gotham Natural History Museum
Key Characters: Bruce Wayne, Richard Grayson, Jack Napier, Alfred Pennyworth (“Uncle Alfred”), Selina Garcia Kyle, Mr. Kyle, Betty, Harvey Dent, Ivy, Principal Gordon, Barbie Gordon, The Pranksters
Major Themes: Heroes and Vigilantes, Childhood Trauma, Grief and Anger, Families, Identity
Lesson Plan Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards for High School Readers
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story.
* The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.corestandards.com)
Directions: Gotham High is a graphic novel; before reading, it is important to tell students that a graphic novel equally relies on both text and visuals to tell a story.
In order to help Bruce Wayne solve the mystery in Gotham High, students can create their own “Detective’s Journal.” Each students’ Detective’s Journal should leave space to include some or all of the following: Characters present and/or mentioned, Setting(s), Theme(s), Important Quotation(s), and, finally, Student Drawings of Key Visual Evidence.
Dr. Katie Monnin is the author of eight books about teaching pop culture, comic books, and graphic novels in 21st century classrooms. Since 2010 she has written two monthly reviews and two corresponding lesson plans for her Diamond Bookshelf column: "Katie's Korner: Graphic Novel Reviews for Schools & Libraries." In 2018, Dr. Monnin founded "Why so serious? Productions," a consulting business that creates pedagogical materials for 21st century teachers, librarians, and publishers who want to teach pop culture. She served on the San Diego Comic Con jury in 2013, and she frequently travels the nation and the world to discuss teaching with pop culture in 21st century classrooms.