Christmas with the Super-Heroes Special #2 (1988)

Isn’t this a nice cover? Behind it is work by an all-star group of creators: Paul Chadwick of Concrete fame on Superman, Dave Gibbons and Gray Morrow on Batman, Eric Shanower on Wonder Woman, John Byrne and Andy Kubert on Enemy Ace, Bill Loebs, Colleen Doran and Ty Templeton on the Flash (Barry Allen) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano on Deadman. All of them celebrate the Christmas season in grand style in this book. Reading it on Christmas night is the perfect capper to a wonderful day.
 
This comic is a real treat, each story as charming as the one before. It’s obvious that all of these creators were doing top-notch work.
 
Paul Chadwick’s Superman story is a sweet and wonderful story about Superman’s real super-power: his never-ending love of life. The art and story are as humanistic and thoughtful as any classic Concrete tale. 
 
Gibbons and Morrow’s Batman story features some gorgeous art, saturated in black (and unfortunately a bit hard to make out on the printed page) as we see why Batman needs a family.
 
Wonder Woman by Shanower is up next, and it’s clear that he has a grasp on what makes the post-Crisis WW such a neat character: she’s truly heroic, but it’s a heroism that comes from her internal doubt and growth, not something from the outside.
 
John Byrne’s silent Enemy Ace story might be the best in the comic. It’s a wonderful poignant piece about how Christmas can change people, and shows a side of the Lord of the Killer Skies that is right out of the work of his creator, Robert Kanigher. You don’t have to know the character at all to enjoy the story. Byrne’s been bashed a lot lately, but in 1988 he was a star for good reason.
 
Fans longing for the Silver Age versions of the Flash and Green Lantern will find that in Bill Loebs and Colleen Doran’s story that might have come right from a Julius Schwartz-edited comic from the ’60s or ’70s. Barry and Hal go to a small town where they meet a millionaire who doesn’t believe in Santa. To prove Santa exists, they go around doing good deeds, finding the holiday spirit in a family that’s down on its luck. It’s a charmer.
 
In the final tale, Deadman is visited by a special spirit who had recently died in a giant crossover tale. Brennert always keeps the story grounded as we see the Deadman find the spirit of life within himself. and Giordano produces art that’s wondefully humanistic and alive.
 
This comic fills me with the holiday spirit. It’s absolutely wonderful.
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