DC Universe Holiday Special ’09
Most years, these holiday specials are about as welcome as a stocking full of coal — atrocious writing, bad art, hackneyed holiday cliches. But this year’s edition is actually pretty darn good. This one has 16 different stories — Batman tracking a dishonest Santa; Superman fighting a snow-golem; the Flash doing a ton of holiday chores in a small amount of time; Beast Boy finding a new family with the Doom Patrol; the Martian Manhunter solving a Christmas crime; two different tales of holiday cheer during wartime, starring Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace; Deadman bringing comfort to a couple of lost souls; the Red Tornado trying to convince greedy shoppers to embrace the holiday spirit; Adam Strange trying to beat a deadline so he can make it back to the planet Rann for New Year’s; and many, many more.
Verdict: Thumbs up. This one is just amazingly good, with excellent art and writing. There are some clunkers here and there, but they’re not actually bad — just not real successes. And the good definitely outweighs the merely mediocre in this one. If I had to pick my favorites — the Doom Patrol story, Martian Manhunter, Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, Red Tornado (he never puts on the stupid costume once!), and the Adam Strange story. The whole thing is a nice dose of holiday cheer.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12
This is the comic based on the goofy Cartoon Network series. In their first Christmas issue, Batman starts out knocking the stuffing out of the Calendar Man who plans to destroy all the Christmas cards in Gotham City! ALL THE CHRISTMAS CARDS! (insert evil laughter here) And right when Batman is about to deliver the knockout punch, he gets transported off-planet by a Zeta Ray. Huzzah! Calendar Man is triumphant! And a second or two later, Earth is destroyed by a wave of antimatter. Is there no hope for a Merry Christmas?
Well, Batman arrives safely on the planet Rann, where Adam Strange reveals that the Psions have generated the antimatter wave which has already destroyed almost everything in the universe but Rann, which is resistant to antimatter because of its natural Zeta radiation. (No, that makes no sense, but it’s a comic book, so shush.) While Batman and Adam fight off antimatter shadow-demons, Adam’s wife Alana shows up to help. When they all make it to the Psion base, they learn that all the destroyed planets have been converted into pure information. Alana can use the Psion technology to reverse the deletion effects, but Batman and Adam will have to help out from inside the antimatter generator. Their recent exposure to Zeta radiation should protect them from instant destruction, but it won’t stop them from undergoing some unusual transformations…
Verdict: Thumbs up. Okay, it’s very silly stuff, but I still thought it was fun, funny, and pretty nicely Christmasy. I thought the transformations at the end were cute, and I enjoyed Batman’s appropriately gobsmacked musings about the Earth being destroyed. All in all, a cute dose of Christmas cheer.