Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Batman: Li'l Gotham, Volume 2 Review (Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs)

The word “seasonal” needs to be somewhere in the title of this series because for whatever reason Li’l Gotham’s mostly centred around public holidays! 

I read the first volume a couple years ago and thought it was novel to mix in seasonal comics with chibi versions of Batman and his world. The stories were fun too and I quite liked that first book. The second one though? Not at all. Maybe it’s because writers Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs have gone the usual sequel route and unimaginatively rehashed the first book’s content or maybe the stories themselves are just that much worse, but yikes, Li’l Gotham Volume 2 stinks! 

Joker and the other Bat-villains have a competition to see who can get the most fireworks for their Fourth of July party. Jenna Duffy/The Carpenter tries to build her pooch a house but keeps getting interrupted on Labor Day. Ivy gets sombre about autumn (the leaves is all dying, boohoo!). There’s more Halloween and Thanksgiving stories, neither of which are good (Jerry the turkey, what the hell?!). There’s even a Daylight Savings story ferchrissakes! Awful, all of them! The novelty does not carry over to this second volume at all. 

The other stories are even worse. One’s about Damian in a Jaeger suit battling a sea monster alongside Aquaman, Batman and Batgirl; another is Bruce and Selina going on a holiday and fighting campy pirates. Bruce and Damian fight Clay Face at the Gotham Comic Con - cue uninteresting observations about comics conventions! Some stories just don’t make any sense - something about the Bat-family forming a jazz band to play before Penguin?! 

Because this is the cutesy version of Batman, Talia and Ra’s Al-Ghul are reframed as the ex-wife and ex-father-in-law that Bruce is on civil terms with, so it was amusing to see Bruce and Damian visiting them and Bruce making frosty conversation with Ra’s. I also liked the scrapbook of memories that closed out the series, sentimental though it was. And while his writing didn’t impress, Nguyen’s artwork is still fantastic - can’t fault that. 

Maybe younger Batman readers might get something out of this one but I was a fan of the first book and struggled to make it through this second one. The stories are just so damn flat and boring! Li’l Gotham Volume 2 is one long tedious comic I would recommend no-one bother with. It’s easy to see why DC pulled the plug on the series after this crap effort as Nguyen and Fridolfs had clearly run out of ideas way before the end!

Batman: Li'l Gotham, Volume 2

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