First and foremost before I forget, a big thank you goes out to our veterans on this 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. I wouldn’t have the luxury to sit around talk about nonessential stuff without the folks who willingly put themselves out there to take care of what needs to be done, so thank you, vets.
Today, I want to review the next one shot 100-Page Comic GIANT! from DC via Walmart: The World’s Greatest Heroes Holiday Special!
Those in the know are probably wondering, a review already? The issue just came out today! Did DC put you on a comp list for your awesome write ups and give you early access to review copies?!?
Not exactly. I’d be open to that for sure, but I can have the review ready to go because I actually found this issue at Walmart two days before its release date because… well, Walmart. I was pleasantly surprised when I stopped after a game night at Stew’s and saw the book, so I’m not complaining. I got my Claritin and early access to a book I wanted. Win win! That’s one more win than I got at game night!
I really enjoyed the Halloween Horror Special, even more so than the other 100 page Walmart exclusives. The holiday specials aren’t locked into 10 or 12 part stories, and they have more freedom to explore the further recesses of the DCU. This time out, for $5, you get 7 stories, one brand new, and the rest cobbled from prior holiday specials, annuals, or that one issue of Superman in the 90’s. One big spoiler: There isn’t a bad story in the bunch. Because this hasn’t had time to make the rounds, I’ll try to keep my recaps light on spoilers so you can enjoy this if you decide to pick it up.
We start off with a brand new Flash story by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth.
Iron Heights prison has a riot just in time for the holidays. Flash interrupts bringing presents to the orphans to get some help quelling the ruckus. The writing is solid enough and the art reflects the DC Jim Lee house style. It’s a bit saccharine and by the numbers, but I’m a sucker for heroes being saccharine in by the numbers holiday stories sometimes.
Next is a 90’s Superman story by Dan Jurgens with art by Jackson Guice. This story is hopeful enough, but a bit of a downer. Superman answers his mail around Christmastime, doing the best he can to help those he can help.
Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. Then after things look up, Supes gets one last emotional gut punch in the end. It’s not more mail though, so that’s good.
The ensuing Supergirl story builds off of Superman’s mailbag, only this time Supes sublets some work to his favorite cousin. Supergirl’s been feeling down and Supes wants her to understand the season and get back “the feeling” she’s been missing. Supergirl sets off to help a little girl whose father is stationed in Iraq…except he isn’t.
What follows from the creative team of Joe Kelly and Ale Garza hit me right in the feels.
Next is the origin of Ace the Bat-hound by Tom King and David Finch. After recently picking up the Mr. Freeze on trial story, I’ve been slowly catching up on the King Batman run. It’s pretty good with moments of great. I’m even willing to give him a Jonathan Hickman length chance to turn the good to great in the long run because there’s so much potential. This short story shows that potential in spades, pardon the pun. Ace is the Joker’s vicious pawn who gets taken in and rehabilitated by the MVP of the bat-universe, Alfred. Remember back in the day when Batman would strive to rehabilitate his enemies so they could rejoin society? He learned that by watching Alfred in this great short that will make you laugh and get emotional at the same time.
A+. I’ve read this one before and I’ll read it again gladly. A true holiday gift!
Moving on to the Batwoman tale by K. Perkins and Paolo Pantalena, Batwoman’s Hanukkah gets interrupted by an electromagnetic pulse. That leads to landline phones and hackers and craziness and the continuation of a sweet holiday tradition.
It’s a solid B story.
Next is a Harley Quinn short by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Darwyn Cooke. Harley finds a gray hair and tries to stop time by…visiting the nursing home? This story is madcap zaniness throughout that’s so much fun until that ending that made me cry real tears. Dammit. It’s too good.
Finally, we have a Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz led Green Lantern story by Steve Orlando, Vita Ayala, and V. Ken Marion. It’s 3 Kings Day and Jessica and Simon have to undergo 3 trials to prove their worth and save the Earth.
B. It’s a standard work as a team tale, but it was also my first introduction to Cruz and Baz. They’re not bad. I would read more with these two for sure.
Overall, the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Holiday Special is worthy of its name. DC does a great job culling these Holiday stories from their library. There was even a bit of diversity that DC doesn’t traditionally get credit for, which was nice to see. The Batman and Harley Quinn stories here are true gems, and the other stories do more than carry their weight. Final grade: A. Thanks for the early present, DC and Walmart!
Until next time, I’ll remain the guy in line at Walmart trying to get his comic book and decongestant fix!