B’wana Beast Holiday Special ’09

DC Universe Holiday Special ’09 (B’wana Beast)
“The Hunt for Christmas”
Writer – Beau Smith
Art – Gary Kwapisz
Colors – Pamela Rambo
Letters – Travis Lanham
Editors – Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

Wouldja believe… the B’wana Beast?!  Not a character one might expect to see in a circa-2009 Holiday Special… and not one I have all that much in the way of experience with.  Only B’wana Beast story I can remember reading was when he appeared in the early issues of Grant Morrison’s run of Animal Man.  Never considered the fella a “leading man”, but here we are!

Also, it’s worth noting that this “branded” cover was a tremendous pain-in-the-butt!  I can often find cleaner art online or I can snap a picture and remove the background… but with B’wana Beast?  It wasn’t that easy.  I’m still not entirely happy with how it came out… but, it’ll have to do.

We open with some smugglers attempting to flee the B’wana Beast and his animal pals.  Oh, it’s Christmas, by the way.  With the aid of a rhino and some monkeys, the Beast is able to overtake the baddies… and commandeer their loot-filled truck!  All the while, a hymm credited as “God Moves in Mysterious Ways” by William Lowper fills our narrative captions.

The Beast is able to kick off the final few smugglers, perhaps even sending them to their deaths… I mean, one dude goes flying off a cliff!  Even if he survives the fall, I don’t see him surviving all that long!

Anyhoo, the B’wana Beast flips the truck… and has to use his larger animal buddies to deliver the loot back to a nearby village who had been offered aid by a Christian Mission.  And so, it looks as though they will have something to celebrate this Christmas.

This was an odd one, wasn’t it?

First, I mean… it features the B’wana Beast.  I know he had a bit of a surge in popularity (relatively speaking) due to an appearance or a few on Justice League Unlimited… heck, I’m almost positive he got an action figure out of the deal.  Still though… a weird pick to be featured here.  At least to me.

Second, the fact that it’s so heavily rooted in religion.  This was kind of a shock, seeing a nearly “current year” comic book narrated via a hymm… kinda jarring!  It’s not something I minded all that much, though I could see it taking some folks out of the story.  Worth noting, the citation here isn’t quite right.  I did a little digging to see if this was a “real” hymm… and it is, only rather than being called “God Moves in Mysterious Ways”, it’s actually called “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”… and the fella who wrote it is William Cowper, not William Lowper.  Now proofreading and attention to detail like that actually does make this feel like a “current year” comic!  Good work, folks!

Now, as far as the “story” is concerned… there really isn’t much of one.  B’wana Beast is doing a nice thing for a poor village on Christmas… and, I suppose that’s all it really needed to be.  The art’s pretty good, I never had to second-guess what I was looking at… and sometimes that’s all we can ask for!

Tomorrow: A Captain Marvel story… where he ain’t called Shazam!  A Christmas Miracle!

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