Always a good one for the kids an usually an enjoyable read for the grown-ups too, Li’l Gotham is back again and this time the holiday theme is St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.

St. Patrick’s Day

This one has a an unusually high character count for being such a green-themed holiday. There’s even a surprise cameo by a non-Bat character thrown in for good measure! The story is about a series of bank heists around Gotham, each of which has a four-leaf clover left behind as the crime’s only clue. Batman isn’t much of a detective at all in this one. Instead he simply goes from one crime scene to the next and arrests the first rogue he sees whether they were doing anything suspicious or not. It’s not a very well put-together tale compared to past Li’l Adventures and is mainly just an exercise in seeing how many cute characters we can see Dustin Nguyen paint. However, seeing as how Nguyen’s artwork is the main draw for most folks who read this book, that’s probably a good thing! While the jokes don’t come as frequently as in other installments, the St. Patrick’s Day special does have one of the most hysterical recurring jokes regarding the batmobile and a great line associated with Damian and his fondness for collecting animal friends (though it’s a bittersweet considering recent events in the New 52). Overall, it’s a good time and it might have the largest cast of characters that any Li’l Gotham episode has had yet. Dustin Nguyen is in top form throughout this comic.

Easter

Kids won’t really realize just how disturbing the villain’s plot really is, but when you think about it– the Batman Easter Special has something REALLY dark hidden underneath all these bright water colors. Wow.

Spoiler
Mad Hatter put a bomb inside of Easter eggs that the children of Gotham were playing with at the annual Easter Egg Hunt. He was going to blow up children!
But if you just don’t give much thought to that aspect of it– which you shouldn’t, you really shouldn’t– it’s got some pretty good jokes (especially for Damian fans) and really creative artwork that sets it apart from the other Li’l Gotham chapters. There’s a cool scene in which a bunch of bat rogues are dressed like characters from Alice in Wonderland and Nguyen made great use of pink and fuchsia paint (fun fact, I will always remember the name of the color “fuchsia” because it’s what I had to use while filling in the Two-Face pages of Batman Forever coloring books as a child) with the rave scene…yeah, there’s a rave for a little bit, but it makes sense!

Overall

These two spring-themed issues worked well together I think, but neither of them made great use of their respective holidays. The Halloween and Christmas episodes are still the ones that stick out the most in my mind and even while this was enjoyable I don’t think it has the same re-read value as some previous installments. However, there’s some good laughs to be found here and it has some of the best artwork Dustin Nguyen has given the series yet and that’s really saying something. He mixed it up quite a bit with some even brighter colors, characters we’ve never seen before, and even a bat-vehicle and an Easter bunny! Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen are producing a pretty fun and beautifully presented all-ages comic.

SCORE: 7.5/10