Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs’ “Batman: Li’l Gotham” #8 joins together two short Bat-tales “Tropical Getaway” and “Bird Watching” released first as digital issues. This issue, like all others before it, is exactly what the body needs if looking for a humorous light touch in the DC Universe.
“Tropical Getaway” finds Batman in desperate need of a vacation (as usual) and Alfred seizing upon the opportunity, unwilling to take no for an answer. Selina — always up for a vacation — joins a reluctant Bruce, but as expected, trouble manages to find them and chaos ensues. Nguyen’s take on Selina’s adorable swimwear alone is quite frankly worth the price of admission, but for the reader that demands more, there is a priceless look at The Joker and Harley Quinn; also on vacation and finding themselves captured right alongside Bruce and Selina. The only thing wrong with this charming story full of chemistry is that it’s not long enough. The missed potential for a forced Bruce/Selina/Joker/Harley team up is palpable.
“Bird Watching” finds a veritable army of Bat-characters from Black Canary and Hawk & Dove (classic version) to Lady Shiva and Batwoman manning the store while Batman is away. Though the sheer joy at seeing so many characters (both those in heavy rotation and those long relegated to the sidelines) is highly enjoyable, this second story does suffer a little by simply trying to do too much. The jokes are good, the art energetic and endearing as always, but the story itself never quite gels. However, the hilarious single panel appearance by Hawkman and Hawkgirl should be on everyone’s shortlist for best cameo appearance of the year, and the Mr. Freeze panel that includes polar bears on bicycles is not far behind.
The strength of “Batman: Li’l Gotham” has long been in the enthusiasm and pure love creators Nguyen and Fridolfs have for the characters and world and this issue is no exception. At a time when DC stories trend very dark, “Batman” Li’l Gotham” is a bright happy light to run to, as often as humanely possible.