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DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1 Review

Comic Books

DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1 Review

Get in the holiday spirit with this DC comics special.

DC Comics puts out quality holiday specials. Last year’s Rebirth Holiday special was a lot of fun, and their Halloween special a few weeks ago was tops. This week, the 2017 holiday special is here and it sports 11 stories. Time to get your cheer on!

So what’s it about?

Read the preview.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Why does this matter?

This book has 11 stories by some of the best writers and artists in the business. If you dig elseworld tales (I don’t think all of these stories are in continuity) and anthologies, you’re bound to find something here that tickles your holiday spirit. At $10 I can see some may take a pass, but it’s always fun to see superheroes dress up like Santa or get into the holiday cheer. Right?

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1 Review
Interesting bookended story.

Most of your favorite DC heroes are represented here from Batman, to Wonder Woman, Flash, and even Deathstroke. Superman opens the story as he attends a bar that has an owner who likes to tell Christmas tales every year. That gives the book nice bookends and even makes you wonder if the stories were embellished by the storyteller. Did Batman really stop a killer who literally talked to his dead grandmother? It helps sell the comic as a solid story from beginning to end.

There are stories that go all in with the fight comic aesthetic (Shea Fontana and Otto Schmidt’s Teen Titans story comes to mind), pure fantasy (Dan Didio and Matthew Clark’s Atomic Knights story), and even dark comedy (Prist and Tom Grummett’s Deathstroke tale). Four stories stood out from the bunch for me, the first being Tom King and Francesco Francavilla’s story about Sgt. Rock and his men’s loyalty to the cause. It’s a dark story, certainly not cheery, but it helps remind us of the sacrifice soldiers go through for us and also the faith required to do the right thing. Joshua Williamson and Neil Googe’s Flash story has a fun superhero plot but a heart of gold as the real conflict requires Flash help folks who are stranded in an airport due to snow. Greg Rucka and Bilquis Evely’s story tells a story of Batman and Wonder Woman in an interesting separated way. The captions convey the negative of Batman and the positive of Wonder Woman using different colored captions and sharp art from Evely. Finally, the Swamp Thing story by Nic Klein and Scott Wilson is the perfect amount of gloom, doom, macabre, and warm and fuzzies. By the end you’ll have a bit of cheer in your heart, even though the fate of humanity is still in question.

DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1 Review
The Swamp Thing story is a highlight!

It can’t be perfect can it?

For 10 bucks I can see why some folks will skip this one. I wasn’t a fan of every story, some of the plotting is wonky and the pace of some stories can slow to a crawl. The bookended Superman story gives the book a nice beginning and end, but ultimately some of these stories are so disconnected from each other and the reality of their own series (who really cares about Atomic Knights?) it’s easy to reason it’s not a necessary buy. That said, if you love the holiday season and want a bit of that injected in your comics this might be your only chance!

The Deathstroke story has a sick sense of humor, but aside from that most of this book is serious. A surprise to be sure.

Is It Good?

For 10 bucks you get primo superhero holiday cheer. What more can you ask?

DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1 Review
DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1
Is it good?
Four of the 11 stories resonated with me strongly, but you may have even more. Overall these stories are solid entertainment.
Four of the stories were solid reads for me and given the anthology format you may like even more of them
Interesting mix of superhero action, sentimental ideas, and fun surprises
Swamp Thing is so macabre man!
Not every story is a winner
Strangely lacks comedy

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