The fourth of July themed issue of Li’l Gotham is here. This makes 14 issues into this series and I personally could not be more satisfied with the bunch we have out now. I’ve sung my praise for this book quite a bit in the past but it is all well deserved. The 4th may have come and gone but this does not dimmer the brightness of the firework’s this issue has to offer.
I work in the film/tv industry and I know full well how exhausting working on the creative side of things can be. A bi-monthly title, especially when it seems to be done in all watercolors is more than likely no easy task. Yet every issue has more than a few gems in the art, no sloppy characters here nor there and the writing is kept a nice, consistent level. My level of enjoyment for this book comes not from the complexity of the story or even the strict attention to continuity that others may want in every single comic they read, but rather the level of fun that is had in each issue. An all ages book that caters to younger readers and still has fun within the universe it creates earns a ton of respect from me, the fact that younger readers may read this titles does not stop the writer/artist dynamic duo from referencing or paying homage to stories that more adult readers may have read in the past.
Joker gathers our Arkham favorites to collect fireworks for a 4th of July extravaganza. He plans to blow up Gotham using a large amount of fireworks, so Bane, Firefly,Two Face, Poison Ivy, Roxxy Rocket, and more scurry to gather more fireworks for the Arsenal. Batman is alerted to the scheme via a TV Ad run by the Joker. The Arkham gang successfully gather more supplies and they are loaded onto a blimp set to fly over Gotham for the fireworks display. Batman and the rest if the Bat-family intervene in the ensuing chaos and round up the Arkham crooks before their plan has time to be put in place Nightwing and Robin chase down the speeding Harley and Joker over the water until “BAT-Dad” catches the feeling villains. This is followed by a brief moment where we see Nightiwng and Robin enjoying an amusement park roller coaster ride. Lastly, we are treated to a scene where Harley attempts to cheer up the Joker in Arkham, she leads him to believe she has a ton of fireworks when in fact they are only sparklers. Poor, poor Joker.
This was a villains focused issue much like the Valentines day issue, this provided us with a nice break fromt he usual concentration the Bat-family and also introduced us to a few new faces tot he book, I believe this is the first appearance of Firefly int his book, and In any book of late if memory serves right. The use of Roxy Rocket and Firefly were very welcome here, Roxy in particular as she is a bit more oscure than most villains. Having the villains go around a variety of places to find fireworks was a real treat, and just on a side note; it was ironic that I myself was having an ice pop as this issue referenced them at least twice. Callback tot he old52 are very welcome. Oracle remains Oracle here, Roxy Rocket comes straight out of the mind of Mr Paul Dini and so it is a wonderful call back to his work, a lot of the content of this book across the spectrum of issues released so far seem like a love letter to what came before. Batman is an ever expanding mythology and so it’s great to see the history of the character before the New52 paid tribute to here. My younger sister who now shares an affinity for comics as I do enjoys this book so much, the small references to Paul Dini’s work had her intrigued enough to search out those old Batman: The Animated Series episodes as well as the Streets of Gotham series. Because of my work schedule i’m rarely home but on weekends my sister and I spend some time reading comics and this book has become our favorite bi weekly read. The end of each issue tends to promote what’s to come for the next release and this one is no different. It seems we may be getting a “Comic Con” themed issue which will be vey interesting to see what exactly is done for that story. Between this title, the Beyond series (JL and Batman), Legends of the Dark Knight, Injustice, and now Batman 66 it seems my Digital Pull list is better than ever. No complaints here and a lack of reading material or the quality of it for that matter. Sadly, it seems I will be unable to attend SDCC this year as my freelance schedule has me booked until September, with that said however I look forward to any news coming out of the convention, especially any news regarding this series or anything else it’s creative team is tackling on.
FINAL GRADE: 9/10