Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quick Christmas Comic Reviews

Marvel Holiday Special 2005The annual Marvel Holiday Special anthology is a mixed bag: "Christmas Day in Manhattan" by Mike Jenkins and Mike Carey does nothing for me. The story for "Moleman's Christmas" isn't much to speak of, but it has great fun art by Roger Langridge. The best of the lot is the Jeff Parker-written "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santron," an Avengers Christmas party gone horribly and humorably wrong, drawn by Reilly Brown & Pat Davidson, and worth the price of admission on its own.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

Jingle Belle: The Fight Before ChristmasI can't put my finger on what seems wrong with Paul Dini's Jingle Belle: The Fight Before Christmas. The art is good, the writing is fine, but it just seems to be missing some of the spark and life of previous Jingle Belle outings. There are three stories here, with art from Stephanie Gladden, Jose Garibaldi, and J. Bone. Maybe there's just a bit too much someness in the stories by now?

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Veronica #166Veronica #166 features three stories, all drawn ably by Dan Parent. The first, "A Dickens of a Tale," is a riff of sorts on A Christmas Carol, with holiday spirits visiting Veronica in her dreams to try to get her to change her spoilish ways. Graig Boldman's story "Garment Lament" is not holiday-related; Mike Pellowski's "Party Time" has Veronica feeling unfulfilled by holiday shopping, so she decides to throw a party instead. I've always found a comic featuring the self-centered Veronica to be a tough sell, and for Christmas stories that goes doubly so. As a foil for Betty for Archie's attentions she works well, but on her own it's difficult to empathize with a spoiled rich teenager.

Rating: 2 (of 5)

Betty and Veronica #213Betty and Veronica #213 has four stories--all by Kathleen Webb, Jeff Shultz & Al Milgrom--(plus a one-page filler), three of which are Christmas-related. The formula is in full effect here: Veronica is rich and spoiled, Betty is lower-middle-class and wholesome, and for some reason the two of them remain friends. IN other words, it's pretty much what you'll expect from a Betty & Veronica comic, with some holiday settings thrown in.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Justice League Unlimited #16The Justice League Unlimited cartoon is perhaps the best ever animated super-hero show, and the comic book based on the cartton version of the Justice League is a welcome companion. Justice League Unlimited #16 is a Christmas-themed issue by Adam Beechen, Carlo Barberi & Jim Royal that find the junior members of the league assigned to monitor duty on Christmas (along with Shayera keeping an eye on them). A crisis erupts, of course, with a super-villain escaping prison to try to visit his kid on Christmas. This is a good solid holiday super-hero tale that gives some of the minor ADCU (Animated DC Universe) characters a chance to take center stage. (For all of you out there complaining that the regular DCU is too dark, why aren't you buying the ADCU titles?)

Rating: 3 (of 5)

Teen Titans Go! #25The high-energy seizure-inducing Teen Titans Go! cartoon has never appealed to me, and despite my usual admiration for J. Torres, Todd Nauck & Lary Stuckers comic work, I have to say that this high-energy faux-manga issue-long fight scene in a mall at Christmastime from Teen Titans Go! #25 leaves me with the same impression. I did like the little chibi gag strips that showed up at the bottoms of some of the pages though--that gave the entire enterprise a sense of fun.

Rating: 2 (of 5)

GLX-Mas Special
Dan Slott revisits his chararacters from this year's darkly humorous GLA mini in the GLX-Mas Special. He's joined by a number of artists--Matt Haley, Geroges Jeanty & Drew geraci, Ty Templeton, Paul Grist, Mike Kazaleh, and Mike Wiering & Karl Kesel--to tell a series of stories and vignettes about the group of well-meaning but hard-luck heros as they try to cope withe the holiday season. It is alternately funny, wistful, melancholly and insightful--easily the best holiday-themed comic of the year. Hopefully we'll see more GLX at some point in 2006.

Rating: 4 (of 5)


Tom Smith said...

"For all of you out there complaining that the regular DCU is too dark, why aren't you buying the ADCU titles?"

Because they aren't in continuity!

Brian Cronin said...

I TOTALLY agree with you about the Marvel Holiday Special.

In fact...too much so.

Have you been reading my mind!??!?!?

Oh wait...I liked the Teen Titans Go holiday issue.


That will save me big money on all the tin foil I would use to shield my thoughts from you.