Written by Jake Black, Adam Schlagman, Dunncan Rouleau, Michael Siglain, Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani, Derek Fridolfs, Ariel Thomas, Amy Wolfram, Joe Harris, Mandy McMurray, Billy Tucci and Joshua Williamson
Art by Ibraim Roberson, Mark Bagley, Dunncan Rouleau, Kelley Jones, Sergio Carrera, Ductin Nguyen, Matt Triano, Pow Rodrix, Andrei Bressan, Jonboy Meyers, Scott Clark, Billy Tucci and Peter Nguyen
DC is going all out with trick-or-treater’s grab bag of random goodies from a variety of creative teams for one big Halloween blow out. But is it a delicious chocolate bar or a piece of gum with a razor blade inside?
There are 13 different stories in this plus-sized issue with a wide range of tones and lengths. Many of them tell how many familiar characters celebrate particular Halloweens, while others fall more into horror stories. We start and end with Bizarro, leading us around Bizarro World on Halloween, which is just as backwards and familiar as one could hope and expect.
While a good number of these are tongue in cheek, like the one-page gags scattered in the book worth a chuckle or two, some have a serious nature. Guy Gardner’s little side story comes out of left field. However, instead of taking you out of the story, it adds a layer to give a simple Halloween party some depth and actually give Guy a poignant moment.
The focus isn’t entirely on Halloween, as Red Robin goes international, specifically to a Day of the Dead flashback on a Mexican island. It’s a fitting setting for Tim working through so many deaths in his life at the moment. Likewise, the focus isn’t necessarily in the now. A tale of a Halloween past in Bruce’s Batman days is a charming reminder of when things were slightly simpler for the Caped Crusaders.
Unfortunately, they can’t all be treats. Kid Flash’s story doesn’t feel too quick, being bogged down with dialog, made especially annoying when Harris wrote in Mirror Master’s dialog. Wonder Woman watching a fake Blair Witch Project feels off my spooking the Amazon princess, just to climax simply with a pool party with three female Teen Titans (more a treat for the guys, I guess).
There’s just as much art variety as there is story. A lot of it fits the specific tale. The Outsiders’ little bout with the supernatural has a dark and undefined style that fits its horror nature. Red Robin’s Day of the Dead adventure has a very painted look and style that’s reminiscent of the cultural art for the holiday. The Halloween of Bruce’s past is pale, giving it an aged look. Superman and Flash’s race uses lighter colors, golden even and is well detailed to be the idealized image it should have. These are some good examples of where the art hits its mark.
Of course with such variety, there’s bound to fall short somewhere. Mark Bagley screws up Guy Gardner’s eyes, making them especially crooked in one panel and not keeping their colors consistent in an otherwise average piece of work. Even outside of screw ups, a couple of the shorts just have overall run of the mill art that doesn’t really feel special for this special, particularly in Kid Flash’s story. If the Wonder Woman story is shooting for the eye candy treat, then Scott Clark could have done a bit better.
It’s safe to say that this book is more treat than trick. It’s an expensive treat though with a $5.99 cover price. The shorts are pretty good, but they’re just shorts. Plus, I think DC’s financial department is missing the point. Do you charge trick-or-treaters for treats?
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10