DC Comics’ annual holiday anthology is upon us, and it goes by the hilariously titled DC’s Grifter Got Run Over by a Reindeer #1. Featuring eight stories, this collection offers completely outlandish tales ala Christmas Specials of old, to emotional and grounded. Throughout, some tales bring a bit of joy and cheer, which is all we need from a special celebration at the best time of year.
Given the title, you might think every story features Grifter, the popular Wildstorm character from the 1990s, but he gets one longer than a usual tale to end the book. Instead, this issue opens with a story by Stephanie Williams and David Lapham featuring Wonder Woman and Superman. Running ten pages long, this tale involves cryptids, a man who sees things, and some fast thinking by the heroes to save a community center. It’s a kooky sort of story that feels classic in the sense of how Williams writes these characters and their voices.
Next is a tale involving a team-up between Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., and a Frosty the Snowman-type of character. Written by David Wielgosz with art by PJ Holden, the ten-page story is as wacky and outlandish as it gets. Frankenstein tries to find his heart and embarks on a fun montage at one point, enlisting all sorts of heroes worldwide. The tale can feel a bit aimless, but its heart is deeply rooted in the Christmas specials we grew up with, giving it a lot of charm.
Harley Quinn gets her own story called “Eight Crazy Nights” by John Layman and Juan Doe. Harley’s doppelgänger from another dimension, Tryx, sends all sorts of Christmas-themed beasts to Gotham. At first, Harley can barely notice, but when the pet supply store is out of hyena litter, she realizes she needs to stop the chaos. There’s fourth-wall breaking, fun takes on Christmas elements turned monstrous and a narrative that suits Harley.
Hawkman and Hawkwoman star in the next tale by Cavan Scott and Fico Ossio, which will make you wish for a Hawkman ongoing. Christmas has come to Thanagar, and Hawkwoman is trying to figure out why. Scott reminds us of Hawkman and Hawkwoman’s love for each other while bringing in some yuletide cheer turned very bad day. Ossio draws a mean Hawkman, and it’s a fast-moving 10-page tale.
Black Canary and John Constantine are next up in Max Bemis’ “Not-So-Silent Night” with art by Pablo M. Collar. This one is heavy on the captions with an alliterative and fun voice. This is the least holiday-themed of the tales, but the title plays on the familiar song. It features familiar characters like Black Canary and Cyborg in a band fighting off Granny Goodness. The odd one out of the bunch.
“Memories and Forfeits” by Scott Bryan Wilson and Skylar Patridge may steal the entire show with its Batman-focused story. Playing off The Twelve Days of Christmas, Batman has a different baddie to defeat each day. He quickly realizes the theme himself, which leads to finding out it’s all connected. The connection leads to another villain which plays into a fan-favorite relationship he’s had over the years. The art is excellent with good comedic timing and detailed renderings of all villains.
Animal Man is next up with a tale by Michael W. Conrad and Christopher Mitten that’ll make you pine for an Animal Man series by this creative team. Mostly Animal Man monologue through captions, we see the character try to get to his wife and daughter. Along the way, he’s reminded of his late son. It gets dark as it does for many of us around the holidays, which makes it feel purposeful and maybe even a reminder we’re all going through stuff at different times. The use of his powers is intentional and clever, and it ends on a warm message about valuing the family you have this time of year.
The final tale is by Derek Fridolfs, with art by Carlos D’Anda and Dustin Nguyen. D’Anda draws the opening and closing, which reveals Grifter is using company money to level up on some game. He’s quickly fired from Halo Corp, sending him on an adventure drawn by Nguyen involving the Batman family and Wonder Woman. Grifter is giving folks a hard time, leading to him getting majorly pummelled by snowmobiles. Nguyen’s art is super cute and the overall story plays into the holidays well enough.
Running 83 pages long, DC’s Grifter Got Run Over by a Reindeer #1 is a good collection with major hit stories involving Batman, Animal Man, and Hawkman. The stories here range from kooky Christmas Special fun to reminders of cherishing what you have and the friends and family that come with it. Not every story is a winner, but the curation is entertaining in various ways.
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