- Posted by Johanna on April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: by Dustin Nguyen; co-written with Derek Fridolfs
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $2.99 US
I don’t know why DC thinks that fun, playful superhero comics are only for kids, but I’m glad that they deign to allow at least one in their lineup.
Batman: L’il Gotham is one of the “digital first” comics, which means that it contains two stories previously available to buy online. They’re themed by season, which means that this April comic has a Halloween and a Thanksgiving story. Next month, it’s Christmas! That’s a little weird, but hey, holidays are timeless, right?
The Halloween story has the best portrayal of humorless Damian Robin I’ve seen, with Batman having to explain trick-or-treating and costumes to him. The imaginary scene where professor Batman, wearing a cowl, glasses, and a blazer and sweater vest, instructs Robin about the holiday, was terrific. So are the reversals and double-crosses. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, something different happened, all of it funny.
The painted art, where the figures lines are treated more like suggestions for where the chunks of color should go, took me a little while to get used to. The contrast between the fine artistic approach and the silliness of kids in villain costumes provided a tension that kept reminding me that this was a story.
I liked the Thanksgiving chapter even more. It’s so imaginative to see the Penguin leading a flock of turkeys to attack the holiday parade. He bellows, “These birds no longer shall be shackled to your dinner plates. Feel our turkey wrath!” This is the kind of over-the-top drama that superheroes need, a challenge, but one with a certain ludicrousness to it. And the creative responses in battling him! Plus, the heartwarming comfort of seeing all the Batfamily, out of costume, gathering together for a meal, yet still in character. A very nice read.
Update: At Robot 6, Michael May also recommends this title, with lots of art samples, from where I got this panel. Note, though, that he spoils a lot of the first story, so you may want to read his writeup after you read the comic.