Wednesday, December 6, 2017

DC Holiday Special 2017 #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

Holiday Anxiety

Written By: See below
Art By: See below
Lettered By: See below
Cover By: Alex Antone & Dave Wielgosz
Cover Price: $9.99
On Sale Date: December 6, 2017


Them sleigh bells jing-jing-jing-a-ling, uh, ting-tang-ting-a-ling loo…we’re gonna make our merry and, um, pop our cherries with you…okay, I’ll level with you: I don’t know a lot of the “peppier” Christmas songs very well. Primarily because I hate all Christmas music. So whatever I’ve heard has been on television or in department stores or in some horrible school play where I was forced to sing “O Christmas Tree” so the gymnasium could get new mats. But that doesn’t mean I’m not filled to the brim with holiday cheer! How could I not, when my review of DC Holiday Special 2017 #1 is right here?

Explain It!

“The Reminder”
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles 
This here’s the bookend story, a device to explain the ten yarns about to be presented. The presenter is Bibbo, who ejects an unruly John Constantine from his bar and explains to a despondent Clark Kent that heroism is abundant or something or other. I loved seeing Bibbo, and Lemire wrote a pretty good Constantine. The gimmick is good enough to force an anthology, though it really could have been anything. Later, Clark invites John to his house to celebrate the holidays with Lois and Jon, which is pretty funny.

7 of 10 candy canes

“Twas the Night Before Christmas”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Steve Epting
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Deron Bennett 
A new Batman story by Denny O’Neil turns out to be a little crazy, and doesn’t do much to instill the reader with Christmas cheer. A man is spurned on by the ghost of his vengeful grandmother to get revenge for her untimely and rude demise. Batman hops in at the last moment and saves the day. The art is phenomenal, and people should be talking about this blocky design of the Batmobile for the next couple of days. This story, however, is not very festive. 
6.5 of 10 mistletoe

“You Better Think Twice”
Writer: Mairghread Scott
Pencils: Phil Hester
Inks: Ande Parks
Colors: Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Clem Robins 
Ollie and Dinah are headed out as Mr. and Mrs. Claus to dispense presents to some lonely orphans, Ollie dressed as Green Arrow with a Santa suit over it, Dinah dressed as Black Canary…but in a Mrs. Claus dress and wig, which means you can’t tell she’s Black Canary. Should have sprung for that domino mask! Canary is all “bah humbug,” but after impressing the orphans by beating the snot out of some thugs trying to steal their toys, she realizes that the true joy of Christmas is in the over-compliance of children. 
5.5 of 10 snowmen

“Going Down Easy!”
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Letterer: Clem Robins 
Sgt. Rock? Really? Here we have the Sarge telling us the story of a Jewish fella and his Nazi POW separated from the rest of his group while he slowly bleeds out. After breaking each others balls for eight days and nights (where have I heard that before?) the Nazi seems to get the upperhand, but gets killed with the Jewish guy’s last breath. And then Santa spread joy to all the children throughout the land! I’m not even sure that this takes place in the month of December. Love that Francavilla art, though, I might consider reading a Sgt. Rock series if he’d draw it. 
6 of 10 menorahs

“Hope for the Holidays”
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Neil Googe
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Tom Napolitano 
That Barry Allen is always on the go, he doesn’t even have time to spend the holidays with his nephew Wally at Titans Tower. Swinging by an airport, he learns that everyone’s stranded due to the freak snowstorm. So, being the good guy he is, Flash runs everyone home. Then he ends up drinking a Hot Toddy or something with Wally because he realized the true meaning of etc. et cetera. This is more the caliber of story I expected from this comic book, but that doesn’t make it interesting. 
6 of 10 elves on shelves

“A Wilson Family Christmas”
Story: Priest
Pencils: Tom Grummett
Inks: Scott Hanna
Color: Jeromy Cox
Lettering: Willie Schubert 
This is a pretty funny story about Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke doing his business while he still had a family. A hectoring wife and two bratty sons before they became the Ravager and Jericho. It’s a series of moments that will make you chuckle, and an awkward ending that will make you laugh out loud. Not exactly Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but there’s still plenty of red. 
8.5 of 10 partridges in a pear tree

“Silent Night Atomic Knights”
Writer: Dan DiDio
Pencils: Matthew Clark
Inks: Sean Parsons & Matthew Clark
Colors: Rob Schwager
Letters: Travis Lanham 
Atomic Knights? Atomic Knights? Hoo boy…here’s a short and sweet story that takes too many pages to tell: plant-based lifeforms the Trefoils, one-time enemies, then allies, are converging on the humans and they feel threatened. Turns out they just wanted to form a giant Christmas tree. We get to see some Matthew Clark artwork, which is always appreciated, but this story is what we can call today “Kirby wank.” 
5.5 of 10 dreidels

“Holiday Spirit”
Writer: Shea Fontana
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual 
The Teen Titans are splitting up to their respective homes for the holidays, except for Starfire who doesn’t understand frivolities all of a sudden. When the Ghost of Christmas Past is unleashed to make people relive their past Christmases guilty moments, Starfire is immune because she doesn’t go for that commercialized nonsense. In saving her team, she learns the true meaning of Christmas is to not celebrate the holiday, thereby leaving yourself invulnerable to ethereal emotion vampires. But hey, a full story drawn by Otto Schmidt! I’ll take that where I can get it. 
6.5 of 10 cups of egg nog

“In the Echo of the Abyss”
Writer: Scott Bryan Wilson
Artist: Nic Klein
Letterer: Tom Napolitano 
A group of scientists aboard the space station Archer find themselves potentially stranded forever when the world below is poised for nuclear war. One scientist, driven mad by the experience, produces some frozen mistletoe before running off to sabotage the space station and save everyone from starving to death. Swap Thing emerges from the mistletoe and calms the loony bird’s mind, even affixing him to the wall before dropping a load of vegetables and bouncing. Hooray! Everyone worked out okay. Uh, expect for the inhabitants of planet Earth, I guess. Really nice art and plotting in this one. 
6.5 of 10 Santa Claus beards

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Bilquis Evely
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
After juxtaposing Batman saving a mother from being mugged in front of her child and Wonder Woman delivering a tanker of fresh water to the displaced folks in Puerto Rico, Dianaand Bruce meet up to light a bonfire as part of a yearly tradition. Seems they both share a more intimate relationship to the darkness, so must be continually reminded of the light. Or some such. Look at some nice Bilquis Evely artwork and keep it moving. 
6 of 10 fruit cakes

“The Silent Night of the Batman”
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artists: Neal Adams and Dick Giordano 
Here’s a classic holiday story from Batman #219 (February 1970), wherein there is no crime in Gotham City for one night, even while Batman sings carols with the some vocal cops at the police department. Almost worth it just to see that wacky Neal Adams block lettering! But not quite. 
6 of 10 one horse open sleighs

Bits and Pieces:

A strange collection of stories, most related to the holiday season only tangentially. Some of the tales are downright morbid. Which, come to think of it, reflects  Christmas at my house pretty well. The price point is prohibitive.


1 comment:

  1. "The price point is prohibitive." You're being kind. The price point is F'ing ridiculous. It's a damn shame I'll miss out on Sgt. Rock drawn by my favorite artist, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna throw down TEN BUCKS for a floppy cover book. That's edging into friggin' trade territory. If DC expects me to toss them a Hamilton for a comic, they need to at LEAST put a stiff cover and square back on it. BAH F'ING HUMBUG!