Christmas Special: The Batman's Last Christmas!
Ever since I decided that the theme for this year's ISB Christmas Specials would be a look at the most wildly inappropriate Christmas comics ever, I feel like I may be lacking in the actual good cheer that I love so much about the season. So to remedy that, tonight, I do what I always do when in doubt.
I turn once again... to Batman.
Yes, with over sixty years of Christmas specials under his belt--including an oddly touching Mark Millar story that revolves around a toy train he got from his parents right before they died--I'm confident that the Caped Crusader can provide us with a bit of genuine holiday joy.
Or maybe not.
Yes, nothing quite says "Christmas Cheer" like going to your parents' graves and shouting that they deserved to be gunned down in a filthy alley.
Or at least that's the idea behind this "different kind of Yuletide tale" from Mike W. Barr and--who else?--Jim Aparo, who came out swinging just in time for Christmas of 1981 with...
Our story begins with the Batman leaving a gigantic bag full of toys for a bunch of orphans, stopping by Jim Gordon's office to cheer him up, and then--as you might expect--backhanding the living bejeezus out of Santa Claus:
To be fair, though, that's not actually Santa, but mobster in disguise transporting the accounting records of one of Gotham's eight thousand crime bosses around town on foot, so the fact that he's getting thrashed by Batman really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. What does come as a surprise, however, is a conveniently labeled manilla folder that falls out of his ersatz toy sack that points to none other than Thomas Wayne as the original bankroller behind a criminal empire.
Needless to say, Batman, who has devoted his life to the idea that his parents were saints of the highest order, takes the news a little harshly. Fortunately, the Huntress of Earth-2, the daughter of that world's deceasecd Batman and Catwoman, has decided to spend the holidays with her "Uncle Bruce" on Earth-1, and after pausing to swap a bit of curious innuendo with Alfred...
...they set about clearing Thomas Wayne's name.
First up, a visit to Amos Randolph, the Waynes' old accountant, who--in a charming holiday twist--is wasting away from a neurological disorer that leaves him decrepit and pretty thoroughly depressing.
Either way, he's able to confirm that Thomas Wayne did indeed make monthly withdrawls that match up to the gangster's records, and when it a visit to "Spurs" Sanders produces a tape of Old Man Wayne agreeing to invest in the mob, Batman decides that his parents aren't worth avenging after all, and decides that his days as a crime-fighter are no more.
Of course, it's not long before he witnesses the Christmas Miracle of an old man almost being run down by a hitman, and decides that maybe the world needs Batman after all, and gets back to work clearing his family's name, which turns out to be a matter of just standing around thinking about it for thirty seconds, which he's able to accomplish despite the fact that Huntress keeps yammering on while men are trying to think.
Four panels later, he's ready to leap into action, tearing off his shirt to reveal his Batman costume underneath. Which he is still wearing, even though he threw his mask down on his parents' graves about three pages ago.
Maybe it just gets really cold in Gotham City.
As it turns out, the money was indeed given to the mob, but it was actually Amos Randolph who was doing the bankrolling, which means that he's not just a crooked accountant, but also an impressionist talented enough to fool Batman into thinking it was his own father's voice on the tape!
Thus, Batman gives him the business:
So, to review: Batman is able to solve all of his problems by yelling at a sick old man until he cries.
It's a Christmas Miracle!
More 2006 ISB Christmas Specials:
| Season's Creepings From Terror, Inc |
| The Senses-Shattering Horror of Tarot #41 (Or: Yule Be Sorry!) |