This isn’t the post that was supposed to run this week. I had my much-delayed Locke & Key Vol. 5 review all set to go. But due to the nature of that volume’s content and the year I’ve had, the review is a bit of a downer. And no comic book-related website should be publishing downers at Christmastime.
Not when there are comics featuring Santa fighting the Devil alongside the Justice League to talk about:
An Imaginary Story – But Aren’t They All?
JLA 60 is exactly what you want out of a DC comic published in the month of December. It has:
- Santa Claus being inducted into the Justice League.
- Santa being trapped in Hell (located beneath New Jersey) by the demon Neron.
- The Justice League teleporting into Hell to bust Santa out.
- The Justice League being turned into coal and stuffed into Neron’s stocking.
The fact that all this action takes place within an “imaginary” story, told by Plastic Man to convince a child that Santa is real, diminishes it not one bit. Partially, this is because we as readers already know the entire story we are reading is fictional. So who cares if Plas is making stuff up? But also, it’s because the real conflict of this story is not Santa and the Justice League vs. Neron, but seeing whether Plastic Man (and writer Mark Waid) can concoct a version of Santa that is as cool as Batman and Superman.
Which Of Course He Can, Because Santa Rocks
And you know what? Plastic Man does it. Santa kicks ass in this comic, but more importantly, he does it while being recognizably Santa (well, except for the heat vision). For Santa, beating the Devil doesn’t come down to throwing punches. It comes down to giving in the spirit of Christmas.
Still, Plas doesn’t quite convince the kid he’s talking to that Santa is real. The kid is hung up on the particulars (“Wait, why didn’t Martian Manhunter get hurt by all the hellfire?”) until … well, I’m not going to spoil that bit, because it’s quite good. But let’s just say, by the end of the comic, Plastic Man himself is left wondering whether Santa is real in the DCU.
(Which he is, kids. Santa’s real everywhere, and don’t you forget it. Though I’m fairly certain he does not actually have heat vision.)