DC Universe Holiday Special ’09 (Martian Manhunter)
“Reason for the Season”
Writer – Fred Van Lente
Art/Colors – Nick Dragotta
Letters – Travis Lanham
Editors – Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Been a long time since we covered the Manhunter from Mars… let’s see how J’onn rings in the Holidays!
It’s the night of the Precinct Christmas Party… but that, unfortunately, doesn’t stop crimes from occurring. We open at Evergreen Alley, a Christmas Tree Lot, whose owner, Tony Valdez was just shot to death. John Jones enters the scene to ask some questions of his partner, Diane Meade. He asks about the cash box… and learns that, naturally, it was stolen. He asks about witnesses… and, there was none. Only other fella around was his helper, a kid named Kenny… who, at the time of the murder was off getting coffees.
John breaks away from the rest of the officers, and walks over seemingly to comfort Kenny. Instead he immediately asks him about the whereabouts of that cash box. Kenny, knowing the gig is up… hoofs it!
J’onn gives chase, but does so by taking a short-cut through a nearby house… it’s all decked out for Christmas, which facilitates a really overblown soliloquy from our Manhunter regarding Mars. A little too overblown for my tastes… but, whattayagonnado?
Out the other end, J’onn finds himself stood right before Kenny’s car… which plows right into him. The kid goes flying, and we’re going to assume he was arrested.
We wrap up at the Precinct Christmas Party, where John surprises his partner with a half-gallon of eggnog… and tries Double-Stuffed Chocos for the very first time.
This wasn’t bad… but felt more like a story-sandwich, than an actual story. I mean, it feels like Van Lente really wanted to wax poetic about alienation and Mars… and the “plot” came secondary only to service that notion. It was neat seeing J’onn as kind of an outsider among his fellow officers, but it didn’t take long for it to become a little too precious.
Really enjoyed the art here, which kind of took me by surprise. When I think of Nick Dragotta, the first thing that comes to mind is his time as artist on FF… which, I hated. It was the kind of art that managed to pull me out of the story… but here, it works… and it works really well!
Tomorrow: Wouldja believe… Angel and the Ape?!