DCAU #104: Batman Adventures Holiday Special

IN THIS ONE... The Batman Family's adventures over the course of the Holiday season.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Ronnie Del Carmen; art by Dan Riba, Bruce Timm, Ronnie Del Carmen, Glen Murakami, Kevin Altieri, and Butch Lucik.

REVIEW: The Holiday Special offers a handful of high quality stories taking place between December 1st and January 1st, usually with a light touch that fits the season and elevates the material. Take "Jolly Ol' St. Nicholas", for example. It's not just a confrontation between Batgirl and Clayface, but also a fun comedy about Bullock undercover as a mall Santa, with Montoya as his suffering elf. He's of course terrible at it. Barbara also has a sexy, but mostly fun, bit where she changes into her costume in a dressing room. And Clayface surprises us with new tricks like splitting into a number of shoplifting kids and spitting mud into cops' guns. It's great.

"The Harley and the Ivy" could actually outdo that first story by pairing up our favorite Gotham Sirens again and letting them kidnap Bruce Wayne with mind control lipstick. And they're off on a shopping spree! There's a great, silent page where we see them try on outfits and get up to mischief, and the tale ends with Batman smiling towards the reader. Again, huge fun.

"White Christmas" is a Mr. Freeze story with sharp art from Glen Murakami, and trades on the character's usual pathos. He breaks out of jail to make sure there's snow on Christmas, because his wife loved the season. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" features the Joker planning to sonic-bomb Gotham's equivalent of Time Square, and is perhaps my least favorite story, perhaps because it's the most serious. The Clown Prince of Crime plays it smart and the story is well told, but even the art is darker and more grotesque than the rest of the issue. "Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot" is more coda than proper story, but I love the idea that Batman and Commissioner Gordon meet at the start of every year to soberly celebrate their survival for another year.
REREADABILITY: High - A great collection of holiday-themed stories. The first two are real highlights.



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