Wednesday, November 28, 2018

DC’s Nuclear Winter Special #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Cover: Yanick Panquette & Nathan Fairbairn 
Editors: Alex Antone & Dave Wielgosz 
Cover Price: $9.99 
On Sale Date: November 28, 2018


Hey, it’s another seasonal anthology issue from DC Comics! Mind you, the last anthology came out only a month ago, but that was technically a different season! I normally like the idea of these more than the execution, but I’ll always be open to checking them out. Are you open to reading DC’s Nuclear Winter Special #1? Peep my review and find out!

Explain It!

Rip Hunter: Time Master in “The Nuclear Winter Special” 
Writer: Mark Russell 
Artist: Mike Norton 
Colors: Hi-Fi 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
This is the “bookend” story for this anthology, though there are so many stories within, that it has to pop up two additional times within the body of the comic. So the gimmick here is that Rip Hunter has landed in a post-nuclear apocalyptic wasteland that is Earth in the mid-21st Century. Former Google employees have banded into cannibalistic Road Warrior types, and Rip forestalls their eating of him by telling a bunch of stories. Not what I would call a contrived scenario, but it’s still pretty thin. 
Batman 666 in “Warmth” 
Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing 
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli 
Inks: Cam Smith 
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr. 
Letters: Clayton Cowles 
So this is the adult Damien Wayne as Batman that we saw in that four-issue mini by Adam Kubert like four years ago. He also pops up in Annuals and such from time to time. In the frozen hellhole that is Gotham City, Damien’s grandfather Ra’s Al Ghul tries to kill him. Damien defends himself, and after getting skewered in the chest explains that Damien Wayne kills––Batman doesn’t. Then they have eggnog together or something? Sort of touching, in a demented way. 

Superman One Million in “Memory Hearth” 
Writer: Steve Orlando 
Pencils: Brad Walker 
Inks: Drew Hennessy 
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn 
Letters: Clayton Cowles 
Kal Kent of the year One Million meets up with J’onn J’onnz on Mars…and he has sort of become Mars. Kal thinks back to his youth, hanging out with a guy on the Smallville farm name Johnson, who it turns out was J’onn J’onnz all along? Something like that. This one was tough to follow, since I’m not expertly familiar with the DC One Million stuff. 

The Flash in “Once and Future” 
Writer: Jeff Loveness 
Artist: Christian Duce 
Colors: Luis Guerrero 
Letters: Tom Napolitano 
Barry has sacrificed himself to a poisoned Speed Force, and instead of remaining mired in what he’s lost, he forges ahead to what’s next? This might be tied into the current storyline in The Flash, I dunno. I might have connected it to Crisis on Infinite Earths, but there was that whole poisoning the Speed Force thing. It was overdrawn and sort of ugly, anyway. 

Aquaman in “Where the Light Cannot Reach” 
Writer: Mairghread Scott 
Artist: Dexter Soy 
Colors: Veronica Gandini 
Letters: Steve Wands 
Two people seek out Aquaman at the North Pole and task him with finding some glowing mud that will save humanity. That’s it. Also, there’s a two-headed shark. 

Supergirl in “Last Daughters” 
Writer: Tom Taylor 
Breakdowns: Tom Derenick 
Line Art and Colors: Yasmine Putri 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
In the post-apocalypse, a gaunt woman cares for an orphaned girl. Later, the woman reaches sunlight and it turns out she’s Supergirl. She’s about to send the orphan off world like herself and her cousin before her, but then Supergirl figures there’s nothing great happening on Earth and crams into an escape pod with the kid. The key to this story is in the telling; it’s a real heart-wrencher. 

Firestorm in “Last Christmas” 
Writer: Paul Dini 
Artist: Jerry Ordway 
Colors: Dave McCaig 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Firestorm finds the Nuclear Family of androids fake-having a holiday dinner in some bombed-out suburb. Dad explains that their batteries are running out, and this will be their last hurrah. Then they capture Firestorm, intending to blow him up in a final statement, but he breaks free and tells them that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. Or something like that. 

Kamandi in “Northern Lights” 
Writer and Pencils: Phil Hester 
Inks: Ande Parks 
Colors: Trish Mulvihill 
Letters: Steve Wands 
Kamandi teams up with some anthropomorphic bears, and fulfills a prophecy by sending another anthropomorphic bear off the edge of a cliff. There’s also something about Hanukkah in here. The storytelling and rendering is really strong in this story, and though the tale is simple, it’s effective. 

Catwoman in “Nine Lives” 
Writer: Cecil Castellucci 
Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan 
Colors: Brian Buccellato 
Letters: Josh Reed 
Catwoman is taking care of Holly’s daughter Sophie in the post-apocalypse, per an agreement with her mom. To that end, they steal a bunch of rations from the local government. Catwoman is pissed off when Sophie shares her rations with other survivors, but later has a change of heart and steals enough for everyone to get some. And presumably a host of others die, for want of medicine and food? The storytelling here is also very solid, though I think the story’s conceit is a little dull. 

Green Arrow in “The Birds of Christmas Past, Present and Future” 
Writer: Dave Wielgosz 
Artist: Scott Kolins 
Colors: John Kalisz 
Letters: Tom Napolitano 
Green Arrow is the cantankerous old fart on the newly-constituted Justice League dealing with the nuclear aftermath. Makes sense, since he was also the cantankerous old fart on previous incarnations of the Justice League. At a holiday party, he reunites with Dinah, alluding to how differently their lives have played out. In the end, Green Arrow says that pushing her away was the best thing he ever did, and then he floats away to Stalwart Man Heaven, where all the sensitive, rugged types that avoided their own feelings to protect women go when they die. 

Bits and Pieces:

As you might expect of an anthology series: a mixed bag of stories. More on the lame side than not. The post-apocalyptic setting is interesting but makes some of the stories that allude to its causes a little confusing. Not a bad stocking stuffer, for a few dollars less.


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