If you need a break from all the gloom and bad feelings going around lately, the Rebirth Holiday Special is the way to do it. I liked some of the stories more than others, but I enjoyed all of them, and while some of them tended to beat you over the head with tidings of comfort and joy, they mostly did it with nudges and winks.
As Harley says herself:
It’s one o’ those big overblown entertainment extravaganzas, where celebrities sharing only th’ most tangential relationships try to act all chummy during th’ segues.
The segues in this case are scenes of Harley Quinn at the all-included (the best-known heroes and villains, and a few of the lesser known ones too) holiday party, and those were all very fun, though my favorite was the scene with Wonder Woman and Superman. It was short and sweet and very nicely written; I loved Wonder Woman describing Amazonian solstice traditions while Harley looks increasingly appalled.
As for the stories themselves (covering over 80 pages) the Batman and Detective Chimp story “The Night We Saved Christmas” was excellent. Tongue-in-cheek and never taking itself too seriously, the story was hilarious (and takes a really dark turn at one point, but keep reading) and Gustavo Duarte’s art is all kinds of cool.
I felt the first two stories in the book weren’t bad, just not up to the level of some of the other stories. The plots were straightforward and feel-good (Supes tries to find a Christmas present for his son in one, and a present for his dog in the next) and the art is definitely good, but neither of them grabbed me. (But I’m not the biggest Superman fan, so I’m probably not being fair. Superman fans out there please shout out in the comments!)
The basic concept behind “Dreaming of a White Christmas” was something I’d never thought of before, and I’m not sure why, because it’s very interesting: John Constantine and Wonder Woman team up on a man hunt. (Well, woman hunt in this case.) It’s got magic and chases and threats and humor, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the two of them on the same side again.
My favorite art in the issue was definitely the Batwoman “Light in the Dark” story. Paolo Pantalena’s art was pretty spectacular when paired with Arif Prianto’s gorgeous colors. And the story was neat too.
All in all it’s a goofy, silly book, poking lots of fun at all the celebrity Christmas specials we know so well, while giving us a few holiday moments with some of the superheroes and villains we love.