Come celebrate All Saints’ Day and Daylight Savings Time in the penultimate installment of Li’l Gotham, the all-ages book that longtime fans and little kids reading about the bat-family for the first time can both enjoy. Li’l Gotham has a formula down: have beautiful water colors with cute imagery and short-stories that are silly yet respectful to the source material. For instance, “All Saints’ Day” features some hilarious nods to Neal Adam’s 1970’s Batman #244 “The Demon Lives Again,” the toll-free number readers called to decide Jason Todd’s fate in “Death in the Family,” the Knightfall saga from the early 90’s, and the events of Batman Inc. #8 are referenced as well (but don’t worry, it all turns out okay for Damian here in Li’l Gotham). This was another superb edition of this series, but the ideas behind each of the two tales collected are so big and the pacing so fast that it starts to feel a bit like sensory overload.
All Saints’ Day
“That’s so random!” is a phrase that comes to mind. Ninjas, zombies, The Order of Saint Dumas, Man-Bat, Superman, Aquaman, The Spectre… how does it all fit? Writers Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs take what starts out as a tale of shared custody between the Waynes and the Al Ghuls and throws everything at it but the kitchen sink. If you actually wrote down the plot of this story it would sound utterly insane, but it’s so fun to watch unfold that you won’t mind and it unfolds so quickly that you never have time to question any of it anyway. It begins with Batman and son trekking their way through the desert after a plane crash and it ends with ghosts ringing the Wayne Manor doorbell! In-between we get some criticism over the New 52 costume designs as well as Batman’s choice of replacement during a famous crossover event and Nguyen’s water colors bring Damian’s wildest dreams to life. It’s one of the quirkiest chapters yet and one that I think fans young and old can find something of value in.
Time Trouble (the comic is missing a title page for this one)
If you thought it sounded like “All Saints Day” paid hefty homage to Batman tales of old, then you haven’t seen anything yet. When Temple Fugate creates a device that halts all time across the globe at the moment of Daylight Savings Time, he also sets into motion one of Batman’s most overly elaborate contingency plans. Elseworlds, Silver Age, Animated Series– all Batman’s from every dimension burst forth from a time rip of Bruce Wayne’s own devising in this cameo-filled episode that longtime comic fans are sure to enjoy. It has the same problem as “All Saints’ Day” in that it’s just too larger-than-life to fit within so few pages, but the vibrant water colors and creative method of bringing together so many different portrayals of the Batman is enough to put a smile on any fan’s face.
- The Elseworld classics are standing on your bookshelf
- You’re a big fan of Damian Wayne
- Temple Fugate is an Animated Series villain you find to be vastly under-rated
- You love Dustin Nguyen’s water color work
- You’re shopping for a comic to give to a child or the child inside you
Issue #28 features two very memorable Li’l Gotham episodes packed to the brim with bat-references that die-hard fans of the mythology will recognize. The art is just as lovely as ever and there are some good laughs to be found. The only real flaw to it is that the ideas behind these two stories were too big to fit within the number of pages allotted and so each feels rushed in its pacing.