Batman: Li’l Gotham Special Edition #1 (December, 2013)
Writers – Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs
Artist – Dustin Nguyen
Letterer – Saida Temofonte
Editor – Sarah Gaydos
Heyyy, it’s October! This is the month where Autumn hits full swing… except in Arizona, where it’s known as the month where we might not break three-digit temperatures every day. It’s also the the month we celebrate Halloween!
Gonna try and stick to a primarily spooky theme this month, but I’m making no promises. Just came into some odd wacky stuff I’m just itching to cover, that has nothing to do with horror… though, may be horrifically bad. One’a my best blog buddies is also making an event of October. Mike Carlyle over at the Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu is going DAILY all throughout this month, digging some real gems out of the deepest darkest corner of the ol’ crapbox. He always does great work, so definitely give him a visit!
Our first (of two) chapters features Halloween in Li’l Gotham. Batman and Robin are perched atop a building, and Batman mentions that Halloween is the one night that the Bat-Signal is on the entire night. Robin spies what he believes to be criminals down on the street… and swoops down to kick some butt! These are not bad guys, however… it is simply people dressed as Two-Face, the Joker and the Riddler. I gotta say, that’s kind of in poor taste, right? It’s like dressing as a serial killer… which, I know people sometimes do for Halloween… but it’s still kinda weird, right?
We then go to an amazing page, where Batman shows Robin that on Halloween people dress up in costume. Here we see kids dressed as all sorts of DC heroes and villains. Really a pretty page!
Robin doesn’t seem to get it, so Batman gives him the quick ‘n dirty on the history of the holiday. Sensing Robin’s obvious disinterest, Batman sighs, and tells him it’s all about dressing up and getting candy. Now you’re talkin’, Bats. Damien throws a batarang at a gumball machine… to which, Batman says “No.” He then trips a trick-or-treater, and steals his candy… again, Batman shakes his head.
Batman kneels down beside his son, and explains the concept of trick-or-treat. Damien thinks it sounds stupid, but trudges up the walkway to a neighbor’s house anyway. He comes back completely annoyed… after all that work he comes away with… one piece of candy.
We shift scenes to an Italian restaurant where some real-deal Batman rogues-gallery members are dining. In walks Batman and Robin, and it’s like that moment where the needle skips on a record. Batman orders two calzones for take-out… which is the same thing the wife and I order when we get Italian. He then turns to the villains… and smiles. He compliments them on their “costumes” and says dinner is on him. To which the baddies cheer!
Outside the restaurant Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department are there to apprehend the villains. Batman asks that they give them a few minutes to finish their meal before arresting them.
The next chapter has to do with my absolute favorite holiday… Thanksgiving! We open on a scene where the Penguin is celebrating the big day with… well, a bunch of penguins… er, make that a “raft” of penguins… thanks, Google.
At Wayne Manor, Alfred is hard at work on Thanksgiving dinner while Bruce and Damien watch the big parade. Both Batman and Robin are represented in the parade as balloons. Damien laughs that Batman looks more like Fatman… but grumbles over the enormous size of the Robin balloon’s head. It’s a very cute scene.
Suddenly, the Penguin… dressed as a Pilgrim hijacks the event. He threatens to subject Gotham to “Turkey Wrath”… which is exactly what it sounds like. Bruce and Damien spring into action.
A fight is on… Batman and the Penguin get down and dirty, while Robin gets tickled by the turkeys… until he spots a trumpet and pied-pipers the gobblers away.
The Penguin attempts to flee by popping open a hover-umbrella (?). Thinking quickly, Batman throws a ‘rang into the big Batman parade balloon… which comes down right atop the baddie.
That evening at Wayne Manor, the entire Bat-Family shows up for a Thanksgiving Feast. Of particular interest, Barbara Gordon is in her wheelchair here. Of further interest, nobody saved a seat for poor Jason Todd. Ain’t that always the way?
We wrap up our tale in prison, where inmate Cobblepot is led to the dining hall for his turkey dinner. After the day he’s had, the last thing he wants to see is turkey!
Good God… how fun was this?!
I’m hard-pressed to think of a recent time where I’ve had so much fun reading a comic book. I mean, I’ve read some great stuff of late, but this was just a hoot! Had a stupid smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. It’s totally silly, sure… but a real treat.
The stories were just holiday-themed episodes, without a whole lot of consequence. They were harmless, and wildly fun… jeez, I think I typed “fun” more times in these past two paragraphs (likely with more to come) than I have throughout my blogging career.
We’re not going to worry about folks being “in character” here… that’s really not the point of all this. These are just cute throwaway stories… showing a lighter side of the brooding Batman (and company). Watching Batman try to teach Robin about the history and customs of Halloween… man… amazing! Seeing the whole Bat-Family gather at Thanksgiving table (except poor Jason, who never seems to get a seat) was wonderful.
The art here is amazing. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really a fan of the “animated series” style in comics. I’m cool with it on the screen, but feel it doesn’t really translate all that well. This, cute watercolor deal absolutely works wonders in the book and absolutely pops off the page. It’s almost impossible not to want to read this after seeing it.
The good news is I had a great time reading and discussing this issue… the bad news is, now I gotta track down the rest of the Li’l Gotham run. Most definitely recommended… put a smile on your face and grab this book if you can. As luck would have it, the entire series is available digitally.