DC Universe Halloween Special 2008 #1

I have to admit, the concept of this special dragged me in. Well, that and the fact that the preview art showed Ralph and Sue Dibney breaking the fourth wall and serving as narrators.

The collection of stories here covers the DCU fairly well, with appearances by Ralph and Sue, Superman, Batman, Kyle Rayner, Scarecrow, Two-Face, Felix Faust and his son, Etrigan, Mirror Master, Vixen, and more. Unfortunately, a great number of those characters are placed in stories that just don't quite fit. Some of the stories -— like the Superman one, entitled, "Deadline: Halloween" -- have a charm about them, while others fall rather flat, like "Fear of the Dark" featuring Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.

The art also ranges, with gems from Matthew Clark and Duncan Rouleau (his Etrigan is creepy, powerful and iconic) to fresh takes, like Federico Dallocchio's spin on the ductile detective and his bride. Unfortunately, some of the art is also humdrum and borderline uninspired, which is a shame, as this type of book could easily be utilized to audition new talent.

Breaking it down by content, there are nine stories in this book, with interstitials filling the gaps, and easily the stories run the range from 1-10. "Deadline: Halloween" is charming and saved by Clark's art, while "Role Model" was just filled with lousy characterization.

In all, the concept -— Ralph and Sue hosting the reader, in Phantom Stranger-like fashion on a guided tour through some spooky, charming, scary or fun Halloween related tales —- is brilliant, but the execution is meager. As already mentioned, a book like this would lend itself to stellar talent dropping in a few pages (like an Art Adams, or Kevin Maguire) or new talent being given a chance to show their stuff. Either setup, to me, would have been more worth the money than the final compilation that resulted here.

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