It’s not as uneventful as the Thanksgiving special, but I found Li’l Gotham #5 to be quite skippable as a Holiday Special.
In case you forgot, this Thursday is Valentine’s Day and like the previous 4 holidays we get a fun, chibi-style Batman story available online to help us celebrate. The story this time around revolves around the Joker and all the ladies of Batman’s rogues gallery including some from the later Animated Series episodes that you may have forgotten! Unlike last month’s New Year’s Eve spectacular, Batman makes more of an appearance toward the end and even a few members of the Justice League make cameos as well but for the most part this is Joker’s show. Does he really act like Joker even if Joker was a kid? Not really. He’s essentially just a little boy who doesn’t want to play with girls while all of the miniature versions of the various Bat-babes deliver plenty of jokes that reference their place in the Bat mythology.
So what’s the Joker up to that has all the gals in a frenzy? Well, he didn’t want to spend time with Harley, obviously, so the comic makes a rather abrupt cut to Pamela Isley’s labratory where Joker attempts to commit a heist. When the burglary is interrupted Joker accidentally spills some of Poison Ivy’s love potion on himself. What follows is scene after scene of Joker bumping into one villainess after another, each one of them falling harder than the last for the Clown Prince of Crime. It has its moments, but none of them actually made me laugh out loud or even crack a smile. You’re basically seeing the same scene over and over again but with a different fawning female.
As always, Nguyen’s watercolors are a delight and I was pleased to see him illustrate caricatures of the crew behind the book again like he did in December. Seeing a cartoony version of co-author Fridolfs and the letterer and editor is a lovely touch. I also appreciate all the little details that he manages to slip into the backgrounds of these colorful panels. Keep an eye out for the behavior of the hyena’s and Talia Al Ghul hailing a helicopter as if it were a taxi.
This installment didn’t tickle me the way previous specials have. Not that the charm of Li’l Gotham has worn off, mind you. It’s just that it was a fun idea that never quite reached its full potential in my eyes. The artwork is still terrific, it only costs a dollar on Comixology (it’s a digital comic) and it might make a good valentine for your children. But for me, it’s not as much fun as those digital comics that came before and I doubt I’ll revisit it again next Valentine’s Day the way I will the others and their respective holidays.