Back Issue Box: Christmas With The Super-Heroes #2
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everybody!
Long overdue for a look here at this blog, I figured I would review the Deadman story from Christmas with the Super-Heroes from 1988.
While it is a Deadman story, it resonates most powerfully as a Supergirl story from the immediate post-Crisis DCU, a DCU where there wasn't a Supergirl, wasn't ever a Supergirl, and characters therefore did not remember Supergirl.
'Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot' was written by Alan Brennert and drawn by Dick Giordano. I am always shocked to see Giordano's name on this story. Giordano gave the okay for Supergirl to be killed in COIE #7. This story is such a sympathetic look back at Supergirl, almost an apologia for her being erased from the history books, I am surprised he drew it.
The story starts with Deadman bemoaning his lonely existence as a wraith. Despite all he does, he aches for human contact, moreso at the holidays.
He begins hopping bodies, taking in moments of other people's lives to ease his own emotional pain. He steps into a man's body and enjoys a Christmas dinner, laughing with his family, loving his girlfriend, being someone again.
But then he realizes that his joy is at the expense of this man's life. It will never be Deadman's joy. Filled with anger and self-loathing, he leaves the man and takes off into the night.
It's there that he runs into a young woman who can see him flying there, can talk to him.
She can sense his anguish and tells him what he needs to hear. He is a hero. He does what he does because he can. He doesn't do it for accolades or gratitude. He does it to help people.
And he has to do it ... even if no one knows he is doing it. Even if no one knows he exists. Hmmmm ...
Set again on the right path, Deadman tries to thank the mystery woman. He asks her for her name.
"My name is Kara. Though I doubt that will mean anything to you." I still get chills.
This was Supergirl, the one who did what she needed to do and saved the universe because that is what heroes do. This is the Supergirl that was eliminated from the timeline, expunged from everyone's memory.
And with the lesson learned, she disappears.
His resolve re-established, Deadman thanks Kara ... whoever she is.
There is even a little kudos to Otto Binder and Jim Mooney who were the creators on Supergirl's earliest adventures.
It is such a short and lovely story, getting to the core of who Supergirl was in a handful of panels. It showed her heroism, her strength, her sacrifice. "We do it because it needs to be done. Because if we don't, know one else will."
It was as if someone in the DC offices realized that something special was gone and we needed to be reminded of it. Few stories encapsulate the beauty of Supergirl as a character as this one does. Wonderful.
I see this issue at conventions all the time, dog-eared in the fifty cent bin. It pains me. Because for old time Supergirl fans, this is such a beloved story, a hidden jewel, a near perfect eulogy for who she was and what she represented. The first time I read it, I suddenly didn't feel alone as someone who was a fan of Supergirl, or who missed her. If these creators could write this story, they must feel the same way.
I often rank the back issues I review in terms of their importance to a Supergirl collection. This would get my highest ranking, a very important story in the Supergirl mythos, even if she never appears in costume, never shows her powers. It's short and in a holiday anthology. But its impact cannot be denied. I cannot thank Brennert enough for writing it.
Overall grade: A+
I'll be away from blogging for a couple of days with the holidays. Hope everyone stays safe and has fun.