Well, Batman’s back! I definitely didn’t care for the last volume all that much and I can’t say that things have improved here. It simply isn’t my style and the art certainly hurts its chances of ever joining the other DC elites. The series is over with this volume and its quick ending will likely tell you all that you need to know about this review. Still, at least I can add this series to my very short list of full comic series that I have read in their entirety. That list shall grow with the one shot Convergence titles as long as they all get separate trades!
There’s no plot of course as the volume is filled with various short stories. Each one sees a character try to do something only to find that they’re outclassed by Batman or that it is in their best interest to give up. One story that I remember vividly is about a carpenter who keeps getting calls from villains and it’s really bringing down morale. She finally gets Batman to give her a job by guilt tripping him. This story is certainly memorable because I had been reading it for three days before I was finally able to finish it. It is a short story, but it went on for quite a while. I think the problem with that one was that the gag gets old extremely quickly.
See, the joke is that she’s getting calls from villains and being very matter of fact about it. The problem is that you figure out this gag by the second call and then it continues and continues. There’s no real punchline moment at the end either so you’re really left hanging. That’s why my favorite stories are the ones where there is a lot of action and/or excitement. Like the team deciding that Alfred is evil and they have to stop him now! That’s the kind of story that I can certainly get behind and it was easily the best one of the batch. The ending is a little predictable, but there’s really nothing else that the writer could have done with the comic so we may as well end this way right?
Unfortunately, the art has not improved from the first volume. It’s still downright terrible at times and it’s the main area that holds the comic back. You can only get so far without good art after all. You can have the best writing in the world and an onslaught of cool characters, but if the art isn’t up to snuff…it’s game, set, and match! This style is simply too chaotic and undefined at times. I still believe that just about any teen who is into art could likely top this style or at least emulate it. I want streamlined epicness like X Sanction or Justice League. Upgrade this art into something like that and then we’ll talk!
As with the last volume, the other aspects of this comic are still good. The writing is on the level and we have a good cast of characters. It’s always fun to see the various Robins join in on the action. Jarvis is a likable supporting character as expected and Batman’s always a fun lead. The series certainly had some potential. Not a whole lot of course given its style, but with decent art I could see this matching up to the Tiny Titans. I wonder if this will ever get a sequel series. I really don’t see that happening, but you never know sometimes right? There’s always more time for Batman comedies.
I wonder how the series would have been if it had included more guest stars. I’m inclined to think that it would have at least helped the series out a little bit. Throwing in Superman and the rest of the Justice League for more than a few panels would have been fun. It may have distracted from the rest of the Bat Family, but it would also open the doors for a whole new array of jokes. That’s a lot of potential right there and Batman just didn’t tap into that power. This graphic novel was fairly short and without much of a plot to go on or characters to talk about, this review is fairly short as well. No worries, the next comic review is back to the norm of in depth comic reviewing! Get ready for Superman to return!
Overall, Batman Li’l Gotham is still not my cup of tea. If you’re looking for some light hearted Batman stories and don’t mind some pretty difficult art, then you should be okay. That being said, I really wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a great Batman story. I actually haven’t read many good Batman comics, which is a little sad. I recommend Batman Chronicles or some Batman Archives, they collect stories from his golden years in the 40’s-60’s. If those are a little too old for you, then check out a volume in the Grant Morrison run of JLA. Batman definitely got his props there and Morrison gave him the correct balance of crazy and insanely brilliant.