I wanted these to be good. I hoped this would be a great way to introduce non-fiction graphic novels to early readers. Each volume presents the reader with two holidays, related either by theme or by date. Though there are ten currently published volumes in the series, this review only covers the six titles published to date. Each of the entries presents a case where members of the Batman universe like Batman himself, Nightwing, or Robin, must solve a case related to the featured holiday. In Christmas, for example, the children’s choir has gone missing on the night of Gotham’s annual tree lighting ceremony, forcing Batman and Nightwing to save them from the clutches of Mr. Freeze.
Purists of the Batman universe may have difficulty accepting the style of the art in these, since it appears to be a cross between traditional comic art and manga. Unfortunately, some of the holidays seem paired by force (such as April Showers and Cinco de Mayo and the unreviewed Tropical Getaway and Birdwatching). Storylines also seem a little forced, such as the New Year’s Eve plot where Catwoman makes a resolution to give up crime until Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn convince her otherwise.
For the purist, these might be easily passed over. For kids just coming to graphic novels or fans of Batman, these might be a lot of fun to read. Sometimes, however, it just feels like the artists and the authors tried too hard to make the story work.
Batman: Li’l Gotham, vols. 1-6
by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
Art by Dustin Nguyen
Christmas and New Year’s Eve
Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year
Halloween and Thanksgiving
St. Patrick’s Day and Easter
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
April Showers and Cinco de Mayo
Stone Arch Books, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: Age 9-12