DCU Holiday Bash! #1 (Superman)
“The Benefaction of Peace”
Writer – Barry Jameson
Pencils – Graham Nolan
Inks – Josef Rubinstein
Colors – Jason Wright
Letters – Albert T. DeGuzman
Editors – Mike Carlin & Darren Vincenzo
Welcome to December, friends!
Yesterday we tied that final bow (and took that final bow) on Action Comics Daily… and, before we get into today’s piece I wanted to thank everyone for all of their kind words and support! It really blew me away how many folks appreciated the effort and the nearly year-long ride we were on! I can’t even put it into words… it just meant a whole lot to me. I’m still actually a bit shaken (or, do kids these days say “shook”?) from the reception.
I mean, even the fella who once played the Flash… and now plays another Flash liked yesterday’s social media share! Not sure if he read the post, but if he did… I hope he enjoyed it!
Now, with all that said… you might be about to ask, “Chris, what the heck are you doing here? I thought you were done.” Well, yes… while the conclusion of Action Comics Daily would have been the most opportune and advantageous time to bow out, I’m not quite ready to be done just yet. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1) I’m an idiot
2) It’s Christmas-time… my favorite blogging-time of the year!
So, for the next little while, we’re shifting focus to Christmas stories! Hey, where are you all going? This is going to be fun… well, for me, anyway.
Same format as Action Comics Daily… one chapter a day, with a compilation wrap-up at the end. With this next compilation, we can go over the final results of the great Action Comics Weekly Poll… which, will hopefully gain a few more votes between now and then!
Til’ then, let’s share and enjoy some stories of Christmases Past!
We open atop the Daily Planet Building… and, guess what? It’s Christmas Eve! Lois greets a man named George who has had himself one heckuva bad year. Ya see, his wife left him, and… well, that’s it. He’s planning on leaping from the building to his death so he doesn’t have to spend Christmas alone. Lois reads the situation, and decides the thing that’ll get ol’ George off the ledge is: telling him the story of Superman’s first Christmas in Metropolis! Thank Goodness this is from before Grounded… would-be jumpers didn’t get this kind of service there!
And so, Lois spins her story… and, to be honest, it’s rather dull. It’s Christmas, Superman has just recently arrived in Metropolis, and he’s feeling rather lonely. Rather than, ya know, take the five-seconds and fly back to Smallville to be with family, he’s decided to continue with his normal patrolling. Naturally, he saves a bunch of folks from near-doom, would-be robbers, low-lives and what-not. Just another day in the life, for the Man of Steel.
Later that evening, there is an event for Feed the Homeless… during which, a former “residence-challenged” fellow named Milton Varney is going to donate a great big sack of cash to the charity. Like, literally… it’s a sack of cash, complete with a dollar sign on it. Didn’t Gene Simmons trademark that? I dunno… whatever the case, some bad-guy, who kinda looks like Bill Cosby bursts in and tries to steal the bag. He even takes the Feed the Homeless “spokesmodel” hostage! I didn’t realize charities such as this even had “spokesmodels”, but what do I know?
Thankfully (and predictably), Superman just happened to be in the neighborhood… and so, he swoops in, heats up Cosby’s pistol… and stares the baddie down.
Well, looks like our villain planned ahead for just such an event. Ya see, he’s strapped to the gills with explosives! Got himself a dead-man’s switch to boot… so, like… if any harm were to come to him, the whole joint’s gonna be blown sky-high. This appears to have Superman somewhat bamboozled… maybe this was his first time in such a conundrum?
As luck would have it, it turns out that our kick-ass philanthropist, Mr. Milton Varney is a quicker-thinker than even the Man of Steel. He bum-rushes The Cos, and manages to gain possession of the dead-man’s switch! Superman flicks the baddie on the head for good measure.
The dust shortly settles, and the event picks up where it left off. Superman suggests that he wait around and escort Mr. Varney back to the Mission after things wrap up… and Varney agrees, on one condition: Superman joins him for Christmas dinner. Bada-bing, bada-boom, Superman is no longer lonely.
This story, it turns out, was exactly what ol’ George needed to hear on this night. It works like a charm! He hops down from the ledge, and is even invited out for a cuppa coffee with Lois Lane. What luck! Truly a Christmas Miracle!
Yeah, probably not my favorite Superman Christmas story… but, there was a certain amount of, I dunno… charm, to it? Like, I get what they were going for… but, the story Lois told didn’t really hit me as being all that “life-changing”, ya know? Like, there’s no reason why ol’ George shouldn’t have cocked an eyebrow at her, and just jump anyway. This wasn’t so much the story of “hope”, it was just… Hey, Superman (kinda) saved this dude, and was invited to have dinner with him. I dunno, maybe I’m missing a deeper meaning here… I can be a bit dense at times. It just doesn’t feel like a story with all that much “oomph”.
There were a few things I appreciated here, however. Superman still being kinda new-to-the-gig, not being completely sure how to deal with the baddie’s dead-man’s switch. Also, as nonsensical as it was, Superman dealing with loneliness was rather touching. It’s one of those things where it’s difficult to suspend our disbelief, when we know he could be back at the Kent farm in seconds/minutes if he wanted to… or, brought his folks up (or anywhere, really) to spend the Holiday with him just as quick. I mean, It’s not like Metropolis is the only place where crimes were taking place on Christmas Day, right? I dunno.
The whole scenario feels like a reach in order to facilitate the underlying loneliness… so, it’s really hard for me to look at these story beats as anything else.
The art here was very good… I really enjoyed it. Probably the highlight of the piece for me.
If you’re still in a Super-Christmas mood, you can check out the time I looked at the Superman short in Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2 (1989), with words and art from Paul “Concrete” Chadwick. It’s a good one, I gahr-own-tee it!
Tomorrow: God Rest Ye Merry, Highfather!