How does Batman, a guy about punching, detecting, and arresting, celebrate Christmas, a holiday about sharing, loving, and giving? That’s the focus of this week’s Batman annual from DC Comics, an anthology featuring a bunch of stories ranging from the cheerful to the tearjerking, and there isn’t a weak installment in the bunch.
The lead story, and the strongest, is the heartbreaking origin of Ace the Bat-hound, as told by Tom King and David Finch. It turns out that Ace, before he joined the Bat-team, was a dog owned by the Joker, and Alfred has to try and train Ace to be a good dog. It’s an oddly touching story, and a reminder that no matter how broken an animal, or a person, may be, we have to keep trying to help them heal. Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes and Declan Shalvey are close behind with a rare moment of peace in Gotham City. And if that weren’t enough, Paul Dini and Neal Adams step out to show Batman giving Harley Quinn a break on Christmas. Well… sorta.
Anthology comics can usually be hit or miss, especially holiday anthologies, but this is a strong set of Batman stories anybody can pick up and enjoy. If the holidays have you down, or you need a dose of unusual holiday cheer, make some time with Batman.