Ok, let me just start by saying that I absolutely love this cover, any homage to the classic Batman #9 cover is a very welcome piece for me. SDCC is coming to a close today, and this book marks a great way to send off the con visitors and remind us In a simple child like manner; why it is we love the characters we do. In a way this is an homage to fandom and also to the various interpretations of heroes out there. In the end we have a great little story here that continues to be a breath of fresh air from the swarm of serious monthlies we are accustomed to.
Growing up, my mom would play bootleg copies of the old Adam West Batman series that she would get from flea markets. It provided a way for her to keep my brother and I entertained while she did some work around the house or ran off to pay bills. Between this and Batman The Animated Series you could say that I grew up seeing two different Batmen so to speak. Indeed, that’s how it felt; serious butt kicking Batman in the animated series and a very light and funny Batman from the Adam West show. With that in mind, let us proceed to the summary of this book (spoilers are ahead)…
Batman and Robin chase Clayface over Gotham, Clayface manages to get away and makes his way into the Gotham Comic-con. Batman and Robin make their way into the con and are briefly stopped by security who remade to see their passes. With some help from Alfred they manage to enter the convention floor and search around for Clayface. Robin is distracted in his search by his interest in “Super Ghost Ninja”, his seemingly favorite comic book hero. Batman even stops by Simon Trent’s booth for a signing from his inspiration “The Gray Ghost”. Robin finds himself wandering the con floor bumping into cosplayers, toy vendors, and gets into some great sidebar conversations/moments with each group. Finally the dynamic duo reunite and head to the masquerade, where fans in cosplay act out scenes or routines with their characters. Robin hatches up a plan to lure Clayface out of hiding by cosplaying as the villain. Clayface is seemingly offended by the use of cardboard on the costume and so Robin taunts him, which prompts an attack. Batman quickly vacuum’s Clayface into a special container, trapping the villain. The dynamic duo are awarded the prize for most realistic costumes, much to Batman’s chagrin. As they leave the con Batman cheers up Robin, whom was unable to find a proper version of his hero “Super Ghost Ninja” citing that the hero had been rebooted and drastically changed for a new audience. Batman reminds him that this is the cycle of pop culture, and that so long as the stories he remembers of his favorite hero are continued to be appreciated then that hero/heroine will never cease to exist. The story closes with Robin confident that he himself is Batman’s hero to which Batman smiles. END.
I keep saying this after every few issues or so about this book but, I sincerely believe, that this issue is my all time favorite so far. The story was fun and easy to follow and very much reminded me of the old Adam West series in terms of campiness and absurdity. Then again this entire series does seem to remind of that, and I;m loving that. Theres a difference between campiness that bores ala children’s television shows that talk down to them and those shows/multimedia projects that are campy/lighthearted but in the sense that they take you back to being a kid again. The homage to The Animated Series is great, having Simon Trent and the “Gray Ghost” make an appearance harken back one of my favorite episodes of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s wonderful series. A fun little nod to the creative team themselves appear here as well. Dustin Nguyen makes an appearance in the booth Batman visits early in the book, Jim Lee makes a cameo as well. Still, the moment in this issue that truly made it complete for me was Bruce’s little dialogue to Damian, in regard to his favorite hero being rebooted. That very great little bit of dialogue made the issue for me;
“Characters come and go, revamped and then revisited. But as long as you enjoyed them, remember them, and continue to appreciate them, then that character…your hero or heroine…will always exist.” – Words to the wise from the almighty Batman
That bit itself may or may not have been word to the fans in regards to TheNew52 and perhaps the recent demise of Damian Wayne. Truer words have never been spoken… or written, recently of course. It’s great to read these words from a creative team who keep a lot of what fans have enjoyed of past stories alive here. Wether you miss Damian, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, or anyone else who may not exist or be their old selves anymore post 52, their stories and the effect they had on us may never be taken away. Somewhere out there or maybe someone here, reading this lone post on the internet, might one day bring that character back. You see, behind every creative team of any generation you will find a fan who in their earlier years were inspired by stories as great as these. To Mr Nguyen and Mr. Fridolfs and the entire team of Li’l Gotham; I thank you for one hell of an issue.
FINAL GRADE: 10/10
PS: Pick up the print issues of this series!, It’s great to see the printed copy and compare it to the digital chapters.