Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wherein I talk about a good comic

Admittedly, it's not a new video (working on it right now!), but here's something that surprised me this week: DC's Holiday special.

Considering the poor quality of last year's outing, I wasn't expecting much. Ho-ho-ho-boy was I surprised - this is REALLY GOOD. Every story is heartwarming and there's some serious surprises here. For one - an Aquaman story by DAN DIDIO and IAN CHURCHILL turned out to be good.

SERIOUSLY.

The first story is a cute little thing that describes Santa Claus' origins, which when you think about it, are surprisingly similar to another well-known fictional character...



That's followed up by the aforementioned Didio and Churchill story, wherein Aquaman saves the life of a pregnant woman and her husband from a crook looking for treasure. The artwork was leagues above Churchill's work on Titans (helped, I think, by the fact that no one wore a mask). Why Aquaman and why a pregnant woman? Well, let's see if you can spot the parallel they make:



Wow.

Then we follow up with Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen reciting Good King Wenceslas in painted glory. Anyone who knows me knows my favorite book is The Once and Future King and my favorite film is Camelot, so seeing knights and kings and the like in this fashion was just awesome.



And- hey, wait, is that Batman's shadow on the wall there? Dini, you sly bastard...

Tom Kelly and Mick Bertilorenzi offer up a hopeful message of peace for a single day in Gotham City - "A Day without Sirens." It's a campaign by citizens that for one day, no one has to call the police on an emergency. Gordon is pessimistic about its chances, but then throughout the day, the ONLY call that the police gets is to save a cat from a tree. Now, at midnight the 911 calls do start coming in again, but it's heartwarming to say the least, even if it's revealed in the end that Oracle was redirecting all the 911 calls from the police station and having Supergirl handle all the emergencies to renew hope in Gotham's police forces.

Plus Batman makes a funny.



Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani, and Tim Levins make a simple little story that I have to say is forgettable, but at least it doesn't renew the Captain Boomerang/Robin stuff.



Isn't this like the third time Tim's gotten that costume?

We continue with a Blue Beetle story by J.C. Vaughn and Lee Garbett where we see a legacy of petty crooks who have been fighting the Blue Beetle in all his incarnations, but the latest wants his son to try at a better life. It's fairly forgettable, but again, a sweet gesture.



Amanda Mcmurray and Rafael Albuquerque feature a Huntress story where she fights an abusive father, gives some hope to a young kid, and also teaches him why calling something "retarded" is really lame. Again, forgettable but sweet, but also it's great to see another female author here. Anyone else familiar with her work? Speaking of, it seems like DC's using a lot of its lesser-known talent in this book, which I think is great.



Rex Ogle and Mike Dimotta come up with a great Titans story. Why is it great? It shows how you do teen angst while also being heartwarming and hopeful. Any chance this guy could be writing the team? The artwork's a little stylized, but the coloring makes it shine in several panels.

Also: Traci 13 and Jaime Reyes. WIN.



Alan Burnett and Kevin Maguire bring a JLA story where Red Arrow and Green Lantern bring the Shaggy Man to the JLA's Christmas party due to not wanting to miss it by spending hours filling out paper work. The Shaggy Man wakes up from his tranquilizers and he's warmed by the gift they give him.



I thought the Shaggy Man was a robot, though. How did they pump him full of tranquilizers?

Adam Schlagman and Rodolgo Migliari end the book with a Dr. Light story where she takes on Shimmer and Mammoth and manages to kick their asses single-handedly, with art that very much evokes Alex Ross. Just a gorgeous story and very well-written.



So, that's all from me. In case I don't say it when I post the next video, everyone have a Merry Christmas or respective holiday or just a good time doiing whatever you do.

6 comments:

LV said...

Yay! A good comic! Thank you! After last year's holiday special, I was hesitant about picking this one up, but I'll be sure to get it as soon as I'm allowed out of the house again. :-P The fact that they actually took the backstories of heroes and ran with it this year, instead of ignoring their source material, may indicate an upturn in quality from DC? Yes? Possibly? One can only hope. ^-^

LV said...

As a side note, have you seen the "Aquaman" episodes on the WB? Or CW- whatever they're calling it now.... I've been afraid to risk the loss of brain cells to a possible atrocity. Worth it or yet another horrible interpretation of a great comic?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

Aquaman episodes of Smallville or the Aquaman pilot? Either is rather lame.

LV said...

They made a pilot? The audacity! They should stick to pithy teen dramas. I'm going to go cry myself to sleep now. What are they going to do next? Cast Orlando Bloom as the Green Lantern? Hell will have officially frozen if that atrocious act occurs.

notintheface said...

Aquaman pilot - Good

Aquaman on "Smallville" - Lame

shikome kido mi said...

Only recently found your amusing site and thus am exploring the archives.
The shaggy man is an 'artificial life form'. His exact inner workings aren't really explored so I'm not sure he's a robot per se. For one thing, I think his hair grows and he regenerates.