Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays - Justice League Unlimited #16

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

To help celebrate this time of year, I thought I would review Justice League Unlimited #16, a nice holiday tale that reinforces the ideas of family and forgiveness. The book is written by Adam Beechen and drawn by Carlo Barbieri.

I have always like Barbieri's art and his stuff is simple yet stylish and very smooth. The cover here is perfect with Supergirl as Santa front and center, the other Leaguers wearing Santa hats as well.

So pour yourself some egg nog (or whatever holiday spirits you enjoy) and we look at 'Smashing Through The Snow'.


The book opens cheerily with Kara giving Atom Smasher a kiss under the mistletoe. Seems like Supergirl has really come to enjoy the holiday times on Earth and is really reveling in all things Christmas.

Atom Smasher reminds Supergirl that he is Jewish but I am pretty sure he appreciates the kiss nevertheless.


Turns out that Atom Smasher is a bit down despite the festivities around him. His uncle (presumably Al Pratt, the original Atom) has passed away during the year. Smasher's family used to gather at his uncle's house to celebrate Hanukkah and that isn't going to happen this year.

In fact, the only family he will be near are his fellow Leaguers. It seems the League has a rule where the younger members are on duty during the holidays. Supergirl, Power Girl, Firestorm, and Stargirl are all there with Atom Smasher. At least one 'grown-up' is there ... Hawkgirl is also on duty. With the decorations up, the group hopes to celebrate the holidays together quietly.

The party is put on hold when Blackgate Prison calls, telling the League that Girder has escaped.

And he isn't being to subtle, leaving a trail of rubble behind him.

The group descends on Girder and a brawl ensues. I really like this 2 page spread of the group swarming on him.

Girder is surprisingly tough.


In fact, despite the firepower in the group, he actually is able to incapacitate all of them. With the League unconscious in the snow, Girder runs off.

Atom Smasher comes to first and is able to follow the path of destruction Girder has left in his wake. The trail leads straight into a sleepy neighborhood as Christmas morning first dawns.


The two fight in the streets with Girder crying that he won't be stopped and that he is close to doing what he needs to do.

Fearing that carnage will ensue, Smasher tosses Girder into a cement truck luckily nearby. The cement traps the villain in a block of stone. What poor construction company is forced to poor concrete on Christmas morning?

But Atom Smasher is a bit befuddled. What could Girder have wanted there? After a little bit of snooping, he realizes that Girder was hoping to just get home on Christmas to visit his son.


And feeling the Christmas spirit, Atom Smasher brings the son to Girder who has been put back in prison.

I like both Girder's stunned look (after all why would he expect anyone to do anything nice for him) and the son's happy look at seeing his father.


There is a nice scene to end the book.

Supergirl asks Smasher why he would go out of his way for a 'dirtbag' like Girder. (Maybe Kara still has some things to learn about the holiday spirit.)

He responds that Girder is still a person, regardless of his past mistakes.



And Girder is that boy's dad. And don't all families deserve to be together on Christmas?

It's a nice ending. Being with family and forgiving. That is what the holiday spirit is all about! Hopefully Supergirl understands that sentiment.

I thought this was a great holiday issue for the Johnny DC line with a nice moral and great art.

Overall grade: B+

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday !! I will probably be away for the next couple of days and will start posting again next week starting with a review of the fun and fast-paced World's Finest #3.

2 comments:

TalOs said...

A truly fitting themed choice review, Anj! :D

Happy Holidays everyone! :)

Frank Lee Delano said...

It kind of weirds me out to see a dark, heavily rendered character like Girder translated into an animated style, but that doesn't make it any less cool.