Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review: DC Universe Holiday Special #1

I am a sucker for comic Holiday issues. Call it my inner child. Or maybe it is the fact that the holidays are the one time when my inherent pessimism fades and becomes some meager glimmer of optimism ... I still well up a little bit at the end of 'It's A Wonderful Life' ... but I always buy these issues. Usually the stories are throwbacks to a simpler time when humanity seemed inherently good.



Occasionally there is a real gem of a story like the famous 'Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot' in Christmas With The Super-Heroes #2 from 1988. That was the famous post-Crisis 'I am Kara' story, a story I thought about reviewing here but it seemed too obvious. Maybe next year.

This year, I was impressed with 'A Day Without Sirens' in the DC Universe Holiday Special 2008 .


The issue opens in Gotham with Commissioner Gordon hearing about a proposed 'Day Without Sirens' throughout the city. Gordon shrugs it off knowing that in the time just before the holidays there are innumerable crimes. There is no way that the criminals of Gotham would heed such a calling.

And yet, the day proceeds in the Police Department with an almost preternatural silence. At first the officers can't believe it. They keep checking the phones. They are called out only once to save a cat from a tree.


The news begins to spread throughout the city. The police officers put on holiday music and order lunch. They are seen smiling and laughing with each other, a welcome change from the usual grim business.


At 11:59PM, Commissioner Gordon holds a press conference applauding the fact that indeed there was a 'Day Without Sirens' in Gotham.

In a short but poignant speech, he says 'The only explanation that I can come up with is that grace still lives in our city. We should all walk away today ... carrying a little hope in our pockets."

And isn't that what the holidays are all about, that hope that things will get better. That humanity will work together to make this world a better place for the future. That Hope and Grace are alive in all of us and not outdated concepts in this dingy world.

But the day ends. At 12:01AM the emergency line lights up. There is a double homicide. "Party's over."

Still ... there was that day. Gordon reflects it with Batman, saying if it can happen once it can happen again. That the city can strive for that.

And, in what has to be a true Christmas miracle, Batman actually cracks a joke.

If the story ended there, I would have been happy. Heck, it was a near perfect ending. And I probably would have reviewed it here. I was that struck by it.

But there was one more page!

Turns out that the city had a guardian angel on duty during the 'Day Without Sirens'. Oracle was having all emergency calls forwarded to her during those 24 hours. And when a call came in, she sent out Supergirl as the response team.

Kara looks exhausted, saying she is going to shower for a week and then sleep for a week after this day. So she probably handled the usual pre-Holiday Gotham volume of calls.

But Oracle tells Supergirl that she did something special, that she gave Commissioner Gordon, Batman, the whole city a gift of hope.

The inclusion of Kara in such an inspiring story was a little Christmas gift to me. Sometimes hope has to be earned through hard work. And the fact that she and Oracle ... that anyone ... would work so hard for the good of others, with no chance of reward or recognition, well that was this story's 'It's A Wonderful Life' moment of holiday splendor.

And perhaps the most shocking thing of all ... the story was written by Joe Kelly! Joe Kelly !!!

Could it be that Joe Kelly, whose run on Kara's title I have consistently trashed, wrote a story with Supergirl that I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed? That he wrote an altruistic hard-working Kara who toiled simply for the good of mankind? Now that, my friends, *IS* a Christmas miracle!

So ... Mr. Kelly ... if you should see this ... Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings !!! Thank you for a wonderful story!

11 comments:

TalOs said...

And perhaps the most shocking thing of all ... the story was written by Joe Kelly! Joe Kelly !!!

You're kidding! *Goes to check his copy out* Actually your not! Wow! Now THAT was a huge welcomed surprise! :D

Could it be that Joe Kelly, whose run on Kara's title I have consistently trashed, wrote a story with Supergirl that I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed? That he wrote an altruistic hard-working Kara who toiled simply for the good of mankind?

OH OH! Soon it'll be raining cats and dogs before you know it. Heh. :P

Now that, my friends, *IS* a Christmas miracle!

So ... Mr. Kelly ... if you should see this ... Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings !!! Thank you for a wonderful story!


HEAR, HEAR! Very well put indeed there, Anj! :D

P.S. I thought that opening page of Supergirl sporting a Santa beard while carrying presents as being simply adorable!

Anonymous said...

Deadman meets the late Kara Zor El and has a nice hope-inspiring chat.
22 years later, Kara rises again and ups the ante, providing real hope for an entire city...and outfoxing Batman with Oracle's help.

Ahhhh but it is good to a Supergirl fan.

Happy Holidays.

John Feer

Anonymous said...

oh and can we please have the Supergirl-Batgirl team back!!!???
C'mon Clark and Bruce are now retconned to not get along all that well, it'd be funny if BG & SG were authentic galpals.
That is IF Babs is slated to ditch the chair and climb back into the tights.

John Feer

Bibliomike said...

I didn't pick up this issue, but I loved reading your review of this story. It made me feel hopeful even without having read the source material! Thank you and happy holidays!

Nikki said...

I think the best part for me was barbara and kara working together. I think I've talked about my love of their classic team ups a lot. I also like that DC comics has a supergirl/batgirl image as their seasonal greeting this year. It must be Kara considering babs was crippled prior to any other supergirl.Its a bit odd though that they would use something so old...or maybe its a message....
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k318/04nbod/27.jpg

Gene said...

Right now I am in the middle of reading the Showcase collection of Batgirl, where Supergirl makes a few guest appearances. Its nice to see this holiday special pay tribute to those days.

Thank you Nikki for that cool picture.

Gene

Anj said...

22 years later, Kara rises again and ups the ante, providing real hope for an entire city...and outfoxing Batman with Oracle's help.

Ahhhh but it is good to a Supergirl fan.

Happy Holidays.

oh and can we please have the Supergirl-Batgirl team back!!!???


Thanks for the posts.

I just thought this story, especially with the surprise last page just worked.

And I also hope we will see more Babs and Kara interaction!

Anj said...

I didn't pick up this issue, but I loved reading your review of this story. It made me feel hopeful even without having read the source material! Thank you and happy holidays!

Thanks for the post!

This was the best of the stories in the anthology.

Happy holidays to you as well.

Anj said...

Nikki said:

I think the best part for me was barbara and kara working together. I think I've talked about my love of their classic team ups a lot.

Gene said:

Right now I am in the middle of reading the Showcase collection of Batgirl, where Supergirl makes a few guest appearances. Its nice to see this holiday special pay tribute to those days.

Thanks to you both for the posts.

It would be a different dynamic now if the two teamed up with Babs being in more a mentor role.

But I would definitely like to see them working together more like this. This was just endearing.

TalOs said...

HEAR, HEAR! God like the E-2 Power Girl/Huntress team up I too truly miss the Supergirl/Batgirl one of old to boot! *Sighs*

Anonymous said...

Properly written, Babs to Kara is the relationship of big sister to little sister....makes a strong and welcome contrast to the frenemies vibe we get from Clark and Bruce.

John Feer