More than half of the comics I picked up this week are $5, including all the comics I’ve reviewed today. Of all the extra-sized issues though, this is the only one that’s a collection of short stories by a collection of comic writers. Some of them are well known in the Batman world, like Tom King (current main series writer), Scott Snyder and Ray Fawkes. One others I haven’t heard of, like Paul Dini and Scott Bryan Wilson, and I’m not sure how involved Steve Orlando usually is with Batman.
I won’t bother summing up which story is written by each writer, but I’ll sum up what each story is about. The first story is all about Alfred, who spends several months helping a dog recover from trauma inflicted by the Joker. It’s a nice story about how dedicated Alfred is, and that while Batman appreciates him, he doesn’t always notice the hard work that Alfred puts into everything. The second story is Batman checking out what he suspects to be a crime in progress, only to find a bunch of surprise acrobats in a public performance. It’s a nice and relaxing story, one that fits with the Christmas season quite well.
The third story is probably the most fun of the bunch. Harley Quinn tries to sneak into the Gotham Police department, apparently planning to drop in a bunch of gifts and candy, but Batman sweeps in and drives her away. What could have turned into a hostile argument or a fight ends up being Quinn trying to get Batman to sing Christmas songs, while they drive by some citizens managing to defend themselves from attackers without help. It’s fun, often funny and kind of sweet all at once. The fourth story ends with a dark teaser, but before that, there’s a hilariously easy fight for Batman. The villain calls himself Minister Blizzard, and he’s trying to bring back the Ice Age. A Batman comic like this isn’t complete without some sort of insane villain, and this guy is way up on the crazy charts. The fifth and final story has the only actual fight scene in the comic, with Batman re-arresting a criminal with a connection to Scarecrow. It’s alright, but it’s probably my least favourite story in the comic. It just feels like a lighter version of a Scarecrow story, with a serial killer that doesn’t manage to do much before Batman recaptures her. That could be personal taste though.
There are also a lot of artists and colourists in this annual, so I won’t bother describing each of them in detail. Artists include David Finch, Declan Shalvey, Neil Adams (who also handles his own colouring), Riley Rossmo and Bilquis Evely. Colourists include Gabe Eltaeb, Jordie Bellaire, Ivan Plascencia and Mat Lopes. The art always fits the story’s mood, with some stories more detailed and conventional, some stories more simple in their look, and Harley Quinn’s story with a touch of a watercolour feel, but the colouring is still normal. Alfred’s story is the most detailed of the five, with cracks in the wall at the pound where Alfred picks up the dog, good sue of blood from Batman’s stab wound near the end of the comic and a well decorated Christmas tree in the mansion, with the fire place lighting up the room.
As a whole, this comic is enjoyable as both a Christmas issue and a collection of stories. And just because I didn’t like the last story as much, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It might just not be in my taste. Each story has a different mood, from moving to amusing. It’s 38 pages of story for $5. If the concept of a Christmas themed Batman annual interests you, definitely give this a shot.
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This Batman Annual was brilliant, such a great collection of Christmas themed stories, and great writers and artists working on it. The third story was my favourite as well 🙂
Here I am once again! 🙂 When DC launched The New 52 line, I was enthusiast about it, because 3 characters I deeply loved had a solo series: Nightwing, Blue Beetle and Grifter. But all good things must come to an end: Blue Beetle and Grifter lasted only 16 issues, and shortly later Nightwing became the incredibly awful series named Grayson. These decisions made me feel more and more distant from DC: I was still buying some of their comics, but I wasn’t enthusiast about them anymore.
And then DC launched the Rebirth operation. Blue Beetle and Nightwing came back, and Grifter will star in The Wild Storm series that will debut in February 2017. DC dusted off all my favourite characters, and I really couldn’t ask for more.
I was surprised by the high quality of Nightwing, because I had already read a comic book written by Steve Orlando (Midnighter), and I dropped it from my pull list after 3 issues, because it was painfully bad. Luckily this writer is doing a very much better work on Dick Grayson’s solo series.
As for Blue Beetle, I’m puzzled. I read issues # 1 and # 2, and both of them contained some good pages and some terribly boring ones. It’s a good comic book, but it’s not a pleasant read from the first to the last page: I hope it will improve in the future.
Of course Nightwing and Blue Beetle are not the only DC series I’m reading: I’m also a regular reader of Green Arrow, and I think this series is one of the brightest gems of the DC line.
What about you? What are your thoughts about the Rebirth operation? What are you reading? And most of all, how are you? 🙂
As a whole, I feel that Rebirth is really good. It feels like DC’s trying to fix a lot of the mistakes they made with Rebirth, but they’re still keeping around what worked.
I’m not enjoying Batman as much as Scott Snyder’s New 52 run, but it’s good so far. Batgirl’s fun so far, with an actual sympathetic villain in the first story arc.
The “Superman” solo series is almost more of a family drama than a superhero book and it works very well. Supergirl’s series feels like it’s off to a good start, but we’re only 3 issues in. It’s hard to judge how a series will be just on 3 issues.
Detective Comics is awesome so far. It’s basically a Batman team book, but better than the New 52 Batman Incorporated series so far.
So far I’m not reading too much else in Rebirh, but I’m pleased with the overall direction.
Also I’m doing alright. Thanks for asking. You?
I love superhero books that focus on the private life of the leading character, so I think I would enjoy Superman as much as you. That’s why I love our conversations, because you fill your replies with brilliant remarks and news about comics I would never have known without you.
As for Batman, I can understand your disappointment: Snyder and Capullo gave us a unique work of art with their run on that title, and after their decision to move somewhere else it can’t the be same thing anymore.
I’m doing alright as well so far: November has been a very busy month for me, but now I’m relaxing, and I can enjoy some free time. Thank you for your rich and detailed reply, it’s always a pleasure to talk about comics with you! 🙂