Deadman Holiday Special ’09

DC Universe Holiday Special ’09 (Deadman)
“Unbearable Loss”
Story/Art – Scott Kolins
Colors – C.P. Smith
Letters – Jared K. Fletcher
Editors – Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

Who’s ready for a… darker Holiday story… that only barely touches on the fact that it happens during Christmastime?

Yeah… me neither!  Let’s do it anyway though…

We open with a look at the front cover of the Gotham… er, Gazette?  Is that the official newspaper of Gotham?  I dunno… the fact that it’s a newspaper is all that matters at the moment.  The headline reads that there are 13 children missing… courtesy of the Scarecrow.  Oh, also… it’s Christmas Day.  We’re introduced to a homeless boy named William, who is using newspapers to keep warm… and a woman named Karen, who simply-put cannot deal with what the paper reports.

Ya see, this Karen… just so happens to be, the Scarecrow’s Mother!  Dang, she looks pretty good for her age!  She blames herself for her son’s numerous crime-sprees… and it looks like she’s really feeling this one.  Probably because she’s just received confirmation of her guilt… via her evil offspring!

From here we get a quick-n-dirty origin story for the Scarecrow.  He was taken from Karen as a baby and raised by his Great Grandmother… who, from all accounts, was a real piece of work.  She basically tortured children… and twisted little Johnny into the psychopath he’d become.

Unable to cope with the guilt, Karen ascends to the top of her apartment building… and dives off!

Here’s where Deadman enters the story.  He sneaks into Karen’s body… and manages to sorta-kinda save her life… well, her soul, anyway.  Deadman/Karen splash into the water below… which is convenient.  Much easier to finish this story in the water, rather than, ya know… on the pavement.  I wonder how much water-front apartment living in Gotham costs?  Maybe Mrs. Scarecrow is doing really well for herself?

In the drink, Deadman and Karen(‘s soul) have a chat.  He more or less tells her to let go of all of her guilt… and she cries ethereal tears.

The homeless boy from earlier, William notices Karen’s body… and rushes in to help her.  As he pulls her out of the water and attempts to resuscitate her… Deadman tries to impress upon her the value of her life.  And so, she chooses to live.

We wrap up the following day… still really bummed out about the Scarecrow’s most recent crime.  Looks like he got away with it… which, doesn’t say all that much for, ya know, Batman.  Wandering the streets, she happens across young William… and she offers to take him out for lunch. 

Well that was kind of weird, wunnit?

Not so much a Christmas story… heck, feels kind of like an inventory story that, as luck would have it, just happened to include a newspaper that they could date as December, 25!

I feel like I’ve used the “of two minds” excuse to fence-sit a few times over the past couple of weeks… but, here we are again.  As a story on it’s own… it’s okay.  It’s well-told, and has all of the nuts and bolts of an above-average anthology chapter.  It fits into (the then) continuity, and doesn’t really hurt anything.  Sometimes that’s all we can hope for!

On the other hand, this kind of illustrates one of my main problems with the Deadman character.  There’s really no way Karen should have survived the fall, simply because she “chose life”.  There’s also the convenience of her just happening to live in an apartment building within inches of deep water.  I mean, I get it… it’s a Miracle, yadda yadda yadda… but, again… it’s a Deadman story where he can more or less snap his fingers to remove any possible tension or stakes.  As you all may know… that ain’t my favorite sort of deal.

Overall though… I dunno, it ended on a high note.  One can hope that maybe Karen decided to take William in, to give her a second chance at raising a productive member of society… and give him a warm place to sleep.  Not bad.

Tomorrow: Rudolph the Red Tor-nay-do…

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