DCU Holiday Bash! #1 (Green Lantern)
Writer – Michael Jan Friedman
Pencils – Roger Robinson
Inks – Phyllis Novin
Colors – John Kallisz
Letters – John Costanza
Editors – Mike Carlin & Darren Vincenzo
Ya know… in all of our years of covering Christmas/Holiday stories here at the humble blog… I don’t think we’ve ever discussed Hanukkah! That’s one of those things that made me take pause… I racked my brain, knowing that this couldn’t possibly be the first time we’re covering The Festival of Lights… but, it is!
For a portion of my childhood, I lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Staten Island… so, I was able to take part in my friends’ and neighbors’ celebrations. It was so interesting to learn about the different Holidays… and, get the “kid explanation” for what makes them special.
Speaking of Holidays… being the lone Catholic in the area made times like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur very interesting in school. The classroom would go from having 20-30 kids… to just me (and a substitute teacher)!
Anyhoo… let’s take a look at our first Hanukkah story!
We open with Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner attending to a crashed (and leaking) oil tanker. The use of oil here is pretty clever, as we’ll come to find out as we continue. Our man is so busy that he’s running a little late for a very important date. Ya see, he’s supposed to meet a pal at Radu’s so they can head to Temple together. It’s the first night of Hanukkah, and while Kyle isn’t Jewish, he’s more than happy to broaden his horizons and learn more about the faith of his friends.
Kyle’s buddy has brought his sister along for the evening… and together they give ol’ Radu the inch-deep/mile-wide explanation of “The Miracle of the Oil” and Hanukkah. The sister, Beccah talks of the Maccabees… which, always reminds me of when Ross from Friends tries to explain Hanukkah to his son (while wearing an armadillo costume).
Kyle enters the scene, and… I think we’re supposed to assume that he immediately begins hitting on Beccah… though, that isn’t entirely clear. Whatever the case, she’s impressed by his Hanukkah knowledge, and the subject shifts to that of miracles (in the overall sense). Kyle, acting uncharacteristically pragmatic, claims that miracles aren’t really his bag. Keeping in mind, he’s wearing a cosmically powered ring while he says this.
As the chat continues, it’s revealed that Beccah is actually a Rabbi. This kind of freaks Kyle out… because, he was apparently hitting on her. Ever so humble, she tells him this isn’t the first time that’s happened to her. Really though… if this is an example of how Kyle flirts, I haven’t the foggiest notion how he managed to date Donna or Jade.
The trio arrives at the Synagogue, only to find it’s been horribly vandalized! Swastikas, hate-speech… it’s just an ugly scene. A maintenance man named Otto has been beaten up and left on the ground. He reports that some punks had stormed the place earlier… and, in addition to the hate-tags, they also stole the Vessel for the Eternal Flame.
Kyle heads out… and, he ain’t messin’ around. Nearby, he finds an empty can of spray paint. Conveniently, it’s an “unusual brand” of paint, and it’s only sold in one nearby store. Kyle, as Green Lantern, pays the proprietor a visit… and we find out that the shop-keep remembers exactly who he sold this particular can of paint to. Ya see, this raving, hate-fueled Anti-Semite decided to join the store’s mailing list. Whoops. Meanwhile, the baddies celebrate having stolen the Vessel.
Moments later, Green Lantern bursts in through the wall… and faces off with the thugs. Just as they’re about to pounce, Kyle’s Power Ring runs out of juice! Uh-oh.
But then… as if by a miracle, the Ring is re-energized! Kyle is able to will himself up a whole bunch of gimmicks, and beat the punks up but-good! He reclaims the Vessel and brings it back to Beccah.
We wrap up with Kyle and his friends attending the evening’s service, where the topic is miracles and faith. Kyle looks down at his Ring and begins to ponder.
Now, this was a pretty clever story! From the oil tanker, to Kyle’s ring running out of juice… this was very “on point” for the Holiday.
Sure, it kinda round-peg/square-holed Kyle a bit to make it all work. I don’t recall him ever being so pessimistic when it comes to things like miracles… but, ya know, all in service of the story, right? Speaking of “out of character”, Kyle’s attempt at flirting here… if, in fact that’s what it was supposed to be… was very, very weak! It was hardly even small-talk, much less a flirtation. Pretty presumptuous of Beccah to assume she was being hit on! I’d hate to think of how she feels when the dude at the Drive-Thru asks if she “wants fries with that”. That might be akin to a marriage proposal to her!
As far as the rest of the story is concerned… it was good! The bad guys got their comeuppance, and Kyle learned a valuable lesson. The path we took to get there might’ve been a tad on the convenient side, but, when we’ve only got a handful of pages to work with, it’s probably best not to use the lion’s share of em on “detective work”.
Overall, a decent story that adds some non-Christmas Holiday flair to this package! I feel like diversifying this sort of collection provides a great service to the readership!
Tomorrow: Getting our Christmas Shopping done… in a Flash!