DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1


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DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1


  • Words: Joe Kelly, Greg Rucka, Tony Bedard, et. al.
  • Art: Cory Walker, Ale Garza, Christian Alamay, et. al
  • Inks: Keith Champange, Luciana Del Negro, & Lorenzo Ruggiero
  • Colors: Nathan Eyring, Mike Atiyeh, J.J. Kirby, et. al.
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Dec 13, 2006

A 70-page blockbuster of story and art starring the Batwoman, Supergirl, Trials of Shazam, Shadowpact, Hal Jordan, and more – this is truly a special Special!

I once upon a time was a complete sucker for company holiday one-shot specials, but I grew out of them, especially as the quality of said specials in the late 90’s took a bit of a nose dive. Don’t get me wrong – they were always the place for a mixture of off-the-wall, bizarro shorts and heartwarming, character-driven tales that allowed fans to feel closer to even the most alien or underdeveloped of characters, and while I haven’t bothered to plumb the depths of any such special for the past ten years, DC’s Infinite Holiday Special – both due to its publisher’s hype and the stories involved – seemed like a good place to give it another go.

So how was it? Honestly – it was pretty damn good. Of course, half the battle with enjoying a special of this nature is that you’re either willing to fall into the Miracle on 34th Street cheese-fest schlock mentality, or you’re not. If you’re not, stay away; stay far, far away. If you think (as I did) that you even might be willing to be drowned in the ludicrous hokum of the holiday spirit, then there’s plenty to love even beyond such sickening veneer.

The special in question is composed of seven 10-page tales, starring such classic greats as Hal Jordan and Superman, though perhaps its greatest allure is its primary focus on the new stars of the DCU, including Batwoman, the Shadowpact, the Bart Allen Flash, Supergirl, and a very interesting look at the hidden world within the new Trials of Shazam book. I don’t even follow the new Flash or Shazam, but the stories within were perfectly accessible and quite frankly those two were the best of the bunch for me, so maybe ignorance is bliss in cases such as these.

The talent involved is a veritable who’s who of the current DCU roster, and I’ve got to give the editors credit for assembling a list of creators that fans will actually want to pick the book up for. Not only are there such mainstays as Greg Rucka, Tony Bedard, Bill Willingham, and Joe Kelly, but there’s also such cult faves as Keith Champagne, Kelley Puckett, and Ian Boothby. As for the art, it doesn’t get better than a list the likes of John Byrne, Ale Garza, Cory Walker, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Christian Alamay, Pete Woods, and the astounding Marcos Marz.

And for the stories themselves? I only found two of the seven to suffer in any manner, those being the Shadowpact tale by Willingham (it was cute, but a bit awkward and clumsy in script and plot execution, though Cory Walker’s art nearly allows the reader to overlook such flaws) and, shockingly, the Greg Rucka Batwoman tale, which revolved around what should have been a fascinating concept, one that should have held the most dramatic impact of any of the stories, and yet somehow the vignette is difficult to follow and ends in a manner that portrays coincidence having played a far greater role in the story’s "miracle" than the greater human drama involved. Basically, without giving anything away, the story could have benefited from a rewrite, tackling the characters and the events from new angles coupled with an execution that allowed a better flow. Yet regardless, that still leaves five of seven that, quite frankly, kicked total butt.

The Hal Jordan story managed a slightly worrisome message at its end when Hal (confronting Hector Hammond on Christmas Eve), shouts "Stay out of my head, you pathetic freak!" and proceeds to, unperturbed, fly home to his loved ones, happy in the memories of his father which Hammond himself unearthed from Hal’s mind. Now, I know Hammond is a "villain," and a man who – despite his sincerely tragic circumstances – never managed to make morally redeemable choices. But he is a tragic character, and Hal, of all people, should hesitate longer than anyone when it comes to wielding a power that insidiously allows for abusive misuse. And the fact that even in the hokey holiday special he’s still a pig-headed jerk that assaults piteous enemies already locked up and suffering? Er…

Beyond that hero’s somewhat shocking, hypocritical behavior, the remaining stories are pitch perfect, most notably the Trials of Shazam tale by Bedard and with the lavish art of Marcos Marz, and the Supergirl story by the ever-enjoyable Joe Kelly and Ale Gaza. The Flash tale by Boothby and Camuncoli is also a strong entry, and that’s something coming from a guy who despises the new Flash series (I refuse to even look at it anymore). The final tale of the special, a Superman/Batman Elseworlds oddity, is perhaps the most memorable. By Pete Woods and Kelley Puckett, it’s a slice of surrealist old-school and new-school with a fantastic, worth the price of the entire book last page.

So a fantabulous Holiday Special, perhaps the first in almost a decade. If such specials start coming back into style, we’ll have this book alone to thank for it. It’s everything a Holiday Special should be, and it’s a lot of things that holiday specials of the past never did quite manage to become (i.e. good). Whether you’re new to such things or remember them fondly from the past, DCU Infinite Holiday Special is a fun, quality book, and you should consider picking it up and having some actual fun with your comics!

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