Saturday, December 20, 2014

DC Universe Holiday Bash #1

So I must admit, I am cheating a little with this one. I do not own DC Universe Holiday Bash #1, which was a collection of various Christmas stories, including one featuring the Flash, in which Bart Allen made a quick cameo. However, that Flash story was reprinted in 2000, in a trade paperback called DC Universe Christmas, which I do own.

Present Tense

Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn Story
Paul Ryan Pencils
Dick Giordano Inks
John Costanza Letterer
Tom McCraw Colorist

Our story begins with Wally West decorating his house for a Christmas party. His last task is wrapping the present for his girlfriend, Linda Park. Linda's always been difficult to shop for since she never tells Wally what she wants. So this year, Wally bought her the world's fastest microwave, so powerful it's banned in nine states. But before he can wrap it, he overhears Linda talking to her mom on the phone, saying she knows Wally got her a great gift because she told him exactly what she wants while they were at Boone's department store. Wally then sees the microwave as a bowling ball with the name Homer engraved on it (a reference to a classic Simpsons episode), and even though the party will start in 20 minutes, he hastily throws on his Flash uniform and says he needs to go out for ice.

Flash immediately heads to Boone's and begins racking his brains to remember that conversation. But all he can recall Linda talking to him while standing in front of a hideous orange sweater that looks like the Rainbow Raider threw up on. In desperation, Flash buys a scarf, not realizing it's 100 percent cashmere, which Linda is allergic to. So he dumps the scarf in the arms of an old man standing in front of Infantino's restaurant (an homage to classic Silver Age Flash artist Carmine Infantino).

Since all the stores are closing, Flash heads back a time zone to California. Again he notices the ugly orange sweater, but decides to buy a fancy makeup set. He then realizes Linda is a broadcast journalist and has all her makeup done by the TV crew, so he gives the makeup to an old man in front of a store called Waid's (in honor of Mark Waid).

Flash continues heading west and stops at a curio chop in Hawaii, which also has the ugly sweater for sale. Instead he chooses a nifty-looking ring, only to learn it's a Mahaluan wedding band. Since Flash is nowhere near ready to get married, he dumps the ring off in the hands of another old couple and races across the Pacific. (I suspect all these people receiving Flash's presents are famous comic book creators, but I can't say for certain.)

It's now 7:15 in Keystone City, and Wally is in Hong Kong, struggling mightily to find a good present and/or to remember what Linda said she wanted. He then spots a factory outlet stocked with tons of the ugly sweaters, and he finally remembers what Linda told him. We then zip back to the party, where Linda unwraps ... the ugly sweater.

Bart and Max are at the party, and Bart looks rather shocked to see Linda open that sweater. I do like Bart's sweater, however, which is reminiscent of Jay Garrick's Flash outfit. But I'm not sure if Bart is supposed to have freckles on his face, or cookie crumbs. Anyway, Wally says he only bought the sweater to remind him and Linda of that conversation, in which Linda said, "I know you love me. What I want is for you to show it ... by listening to me." Linda is very happy to see Wally remembered this, and they share a romantic kiss under the mistletoe.

So this was a pretty fun Christmas story, but it was a Flash story that just happened to throw Bart in one panel. I would have loved a story showing Bart celebrating his first Christmas, and needing Max to explain everything to him. But this was fun, too.

Next time, Impulse will make another brief cameo in Wonder Woman Plus Jesse Quick #1.

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