Being Jewish, I probably know more about Green Lantern’s mythology than I do Christmas’. Anything I’ve learned about Santa Claus or the North Pole has been from barely glanced-at Christmas shows and movies. “Fred Claus” is probably the one I paid most attention to (who knows why), but I got the impression that film played fast and loose with the “facts” of its subject matter.
So, I’m not too concerned that the moral of this particular Christmas Story seems to be that “There is no Santa Claus.” I’m pretty on board with the concept. Same goes for the idea that the “Christmas Spirit” is one of giving and compassion. Hal Jordan rather cleverly tricks Larfleeze into kindness and generosity by describing said “Spirit” as just another “thing,” which naturally makes Larfleeze want it, desperately. As a story, it’s pretty tidy, although the button it ends on fails, trying a little too suddenly and heavy-handedly to make Larfleeze a more sympathetic character, when he’s always worked best as a fairly one-dimensional and hilarious foil. There’s no need to see Larfleeze in his oncologist’s office, bemoaning to his doctor, “But, you see. I am Pagliacci.” Elevating the proceedings are frequent and delightful activity pages, featuring mazes, recipes, and cut out ornaments. It serves to make a pretty engaging little holiday package.
Brett Booth’s art is a little more underwhelming than the story and fun filled premise around it. I can’t be 115% sure, but it looks like his pencils here were digitally inked and then colored. With some artists, this works fine and you can barely tell. In this case, it gives the book an insubstantial feel that distracts instead of impresses. Especially with elements that are so firmly design-oriented, like games, the almost unfinished looking art just stands out in contrast. This is not to say that Booth’s work looks sloppy. He is a fine, and detailed artist. But as much as comic companies may wish that the difference between ink and pencil was indistinguishable if you up the contrast enough, it clearly is not. Is it a byproduct of artists taking longer to do increasingly more complicated comic art? A question of finances? One may never know. But, most likely, I’m the only person alive who notices and/or cares about these sorts of things, so this is probably just what a whole bunch of comics are going to look like today and, more increasingly, tomorrow.
Overall, though, this special is a harmless, charming episode with a much beloved character. Like David Bowie and Bing Crosby caroling, it fits the season fine, even if it does, at times, feel a little weird.