DC’s Saved by the Belle Reve #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 30, 2022
Cover date: October 2022
Cover: Juni Ba
Variant Cover: Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia
Reviewed by: Marc Lax
“Gotham Academy – Sophomore Year”
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Karl Kerschl
Shortly before their sophomore year the Detective Club students from Gotham Academy team up to look for a Zombie. They find Solomon Grundy.
“Suicide Squad – High School Lows”
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Scott Kolins
The Suicide Squad goes undercover at a private school to watch over a Corto Maltesian General’s son who turns out to be an evil sorcerer. Carnage ensues.
“Super Sons – Back to School”
Writer: Peter J Tomasi
Artist: Max Raynor
After a night out fighting crime with their fathers, Jon and Damian are told they must go home because tomorrow is the first day of School. After getting respective haircuts (Damian wants his short while Jon wants his left longer) they’re ready for their first day of 8th grade at The West Reeve School. During lunch Jon and Damian see a new student being bullied. After they save the student they find out that they are non-binary and their name is Sydney. That night Damian appears outside of Sydney’s window and tries teaching them some fighting skills. Later Jon gives Sydney a pep talk saying sometimes turning the other cheek and reasoning is the way to go. The next day the bullies appear and start bothering Sydney. Sydney tries talking some sense into them but ends up decking one of them. Which results in the other students laughing at the bully as Jon, Damian and Sydney walk off savoring the victory.
“Green Arrow and Speedy – Earn it Back”
Writer: Dave Wielgosz
Artist: Mike Norton
Many years ago after a night out Ollie is summoned to the Vice Principal’s office at Roy’s school. She tells Roy’s guardian that his grades are suffering. Ollie suspends Roy from the crime fighting business until his grades are up. While Roy raises his grade point average it’s not enough. After speaking to Batman Ollie realizes he’s being too hard on Roy and tells him he can be a great hero if he wants but he can also be more. Be the greatest at life.
“Tiny Titans – Piece Making”
Writers: Art Baltazar and Franco
Artist: Art Baltazar
Raven accidentally teleports the Tiny Titans to Bell Reve prison instead of Granny’s Bell Pepper Rave Garden. Hijinks ensue.
“Black Lightning – This is Why”
Writer: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Craig Cermak
We go back to a time when Jefferson Pierce was Secretary of Education under President Luthor. Jefferson tries to explain why he would be on Luthor’s cabinet. He thinks back on a time when he helped his students with tough problems and how he would always be there for them. Later he tells his daughter that despite who Luthor was, as Secretary of Education he could make a big difference in the lives of students through the country. In the end, despite his reasoning for being on Luthor’s cabinet, he’s still just as much a ‘yes’ man as everyone else in the cabinet.
“Azrael – How Angels are Made”
Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Jean-Paul Valley (Azrael) stumbles upon his old school which taught him how to become the avenging angel he is now. He remembers the horrors he suffered at the hands of the monks. He must learn to be as a student again. Ask questions. Only than can he make himself a better person.
“Batgirl & Nightwing – Night Off”
Writer: Andrew Ayoin
Artist: Nelson Daniel
Babs and Dick go to the prom! After they fight Mr Freeze. Barbara misses being the queen of the prom because they are late but all they want to do is dance.
Story – 3: This book is actually a lot of fun but like so many anthologies it’s uneven. The first story perplexed me because I have no idea who these characters are. If Solomon Grundy didn’t show up this story could have been Marvel for all I knew. But that’s on me for not being familiar with Gotham Academy. I’m sure those readers got more out of that story then I did.
The Suicide Squad story was very funny. It was totally ridiculous as you would expect (King Shark teaching English!). Not a bad short tale for this team.
The Super Sons story probably resonated the most. It was great to see Jon and Damian back together in their early years but the subject of bullying someone who seems different and the Sons understanding that Sydney was non-binary and learning about the LGBTQ+ community is something that’s so important especially in today’s climate. I also liked Clark telling Jon to trust him in not letting his hair grow longer. And the School being called Reeve didn’t get by me.
Green Arrow and Speedy gave us a nice life lesson if not a bit heavy handed. Roy is doing bad in school because of his crime fighting. This story could have featured any crime fighter and side kick and be the same. Of course we know what’s in Roy’s future so maybe it is more poignant.
The Tiny Titans. Belle Reve Prison. The Suicide Squad. Granny’s Bell Pepper Rave Garden? Nuff said.
The Black Lightning story was very interesting. It’s Jefferson trying to rationalize (and not very successfully) why he would take a job on President Luthor’s cabinet. Yes, he can make a difference in students’ lives but he still has to kiss up to Luthor just as much as his other cabinet members. I can’t decide if this is a story of Black Lightning doing the right thing or being a bit naive thinking he could make a difference while working for Lex Luthor.
The Azrael story did nothing for me. I’ve never been a big fan of the character and I don’t think we learned anything new. It just seems to rehash things we already new.
Nightwing and Batgirl! Next to the Super Sons this is my favorite. Dick and Barbara as high school students who just want to go to the Prom but are of course waylaid by crime fighting is sweet and fun. I’m a huge Dick and Barbara proponent.
In all a mixed bag but still worth your time if you’re in the mood for some mostly breezy entertainment.
Gotham Academy Art – 4: Fletcher’s pencils are more than serviceable for this story. I like his Solomon Grundy.
Suicide Squad Art – 3: Colorful but a bit scratchy for my taste.
Super Sons Art – 4: Raynor captures the “classic” look of our young heroes. His Superman and Batman are also pretty good.
Green Arrow and Speedy Art – 4: This has a very Golden Age feel to it. Very clean pencils.
The Tiny Titans Art – 5: Come on Baltazar and Franco. There is nothing bad to see here.
Black Lightning Art – 4: Nice art. Nothing special but I wouldn’t mind seeing Cermak’s art on a regular basis.
Azrael Art – 3: Nothing impressive. The art is just bland.
Nightwing and Batgirl Art – 4: The art captures the youthfulness of our heroes and is as much bright and cheery as action packed.
Cover Art – 4: Very busy but gives you a hint of what’s to come. Amanda Waller chewing out King Shark is rather funny.
Variant Cover Art – 4: A nice comparison to the more youthful Tiny Titans art to their older counter parts. Black Lightning’s goggles are funny. So is Nightwing in his varsity jacket while Batgirl lovingly stares at the hero.
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