Li’l Gotham has expanded to two issues a month and while we’ve already seen a Valentine’s Day adventure this week we get a rather unexpected Lunar New Year episode. Very little attention is given to this holiday, however, but the story does maintain an Asian theme as Damian Wayne teams up with Katana in Gotham’s Chinatown to recover a stolen sword.
There are some pretty funny Damian moments in this but it’s Alfred who actually steals the show. There are some great flashback scenes featuring Batman and Alfred fighting alongside one another in the early days and Alfred’s look is very reminiscent of The Green Hornet’s chauffeur Kato. Katana does very little and isn’t given a personality that really stands out. Ra’s Al Ghul makes a brief cameo but isn’t used to his full potential either, but the lighthearted portrayal of Damian (even if he seems more like your average kid and less like his usual snobby, aristocratic self) and Alfred more than makeup for the bland characterization of the supporting cast.
The real attraction yet again is Nguyen’s water colors which are quite vibrant here as we venture into festive Chinatown but I was most impressed by the use of black paints in the flashbacks to Batman and Alfred’s early days. There’s one page in particular where we see some Dick Grayson foreshadowing that’s one of my favorite images yet this year.
Is Li’l Gotham #6 worth a buck? Definitely. It’s not as charming as the Halloween or Christmas episodes, but I’m a sucker for a fun Alfred story. It’s rather disappointing though that this issue didn’t get a unique cover of its own. It’s identical to the Valentine’s Day cover but with slightly different colors.