Red Tornado Holiday Special ’09

DC Universe Holiday Special ’09 (Red Tornado)
“A Night Before Christmas Story”
Writer – David Tischman
Pencils – Adam Archer
Inks – Sandra Hope
Colors – Jonny Rench
Letters – John J. Hill
Editors – Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

It takes some doing to have a Red Tornado story in your Holiday anthology… and for it not to be the most far-out one in the ish!

Let’s check in with the Smiths!

We open on… Christmas Eve, and Reddy is taking care of some last-minute shopping for his daughter, Traya.  Ya see, the hot toy this season is the Ecko-Gecko doll… and every store in a three-state radius is completely sold-out.  In fairness to those maintaining inventory… it is Christmas Eve, perhaps our John Smith should’ve considered looking for the hottest toy going a bit earlier.  Or, hell, it’s 2009… look online!  Anyhoo, a little old lady saunters up, revealing she has a Ecko-Gecko doll she’d happily part with… for two-hunnid bones!

Reddy scoffs, claiming that to be a 345% increase on the MSRP… so, I guess he’s never heard of “war profiteering”.  His hesitation provides the opportunity for a fellow shopper to rush up and offer the walleyed old biddy $250!  Ya snooze, ya lose Tornado!

So, ticked off and completely disappointed with humanity, our Red Tornado whips up several cyclones… collecting all of the snow from outside and depositing it right at the exit points of the building… in effect, trapping everyone inside the store.  Let’s hope there isn’t a fire.

The patrons inside the shop start freaking out, wondering just how they’ll get home to their families (and demanding children).  A man with a bushy mustache suggests that this all might be a sign… giving them the time and opportunity to reflect on what Christmas is really all about.  John suggests they all join in and sing carols along with the store’s P.A. system.  Really, dude?  Okay.  Anyhoo, a clerk emerges from one of the aisles to calm everyone down and assure them that the Fire Department will soon be there to let ’em all out.

Our story concludes on Christmas Morning, where an excited Traya hops into her parents’ bed to wake ’em up and wish ’em a Merry Christmas.  John asks if she wants to see what Santa brought her… to which she says “Nah, I got all day for that…” and would rather spend time being thankful for what she already has.  Bulllllllll…oney.

Sometimes, and I’m not sure if this is due to some of the stories we’ve already read during Christmas on Infinite Earths this year, but sometimes… it’s hard to suspend disbelief to fully enjoy a “slice of life” story.  I get that “looking for the hot toy of the season” is a story that has been so overused at this point that it almost writes itself… and I understand how superior we can all feel in the reading, because certainly none of us would act like these ugly, greedy, selfish people in the store… but, c’mon… Red Tornado’s in the Justice League.  He couldn’t give the Flash a call and have him scoop up an Ecko-Gecko from the factory in China?  We’ve seen Wally do something just like that twice already this season!

It’d be one thing if this was a story looking to be comedic… but, I didn’t get that at all.  This was a commentary on consumerism… in an overpriced comic book they expected people to shell out six bucks for!  From an industry that tries non-stop to whup its ever-shrinking fandom into a frenzy with incentives and variants and gimmicks… is this really the place to look down our collective noses at people who want to buy things?  Not a good look.

This was certainly not my favorite story in this book… I know what it’s trying to “learn” us, but it fails.  It fails as a comedy, because it isn’t funny… it fails as satire/commentary, because it’s far too unsubtle.  I mean, the only things these ugly consumers were missing were snouts and curly tails.  Our hero throws a tantrum, and potentially endangers everyone who made him upset.  Just not great.  The ending… well, again, I see what they were going for… but, it came across as too unauthentic to properly receive.

Tomorrow: The Huntress decides whether you’ve been naughty or nice

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