DC Nuclear Winter Special #1 Review

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The world has come to an apocalyptic conclusion and a stranded Rip Hunter must pull his best Shahrazad impersonation if he wants to avoid winding up on the menu of some wasteland survivors. The holiday season comes to DC Comics with the DC Nuclear Winter Special #1.

DC Nuclear Winter Special #1 ReviewDC NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL #1

Writer: Paul Dini, Steve Orlando, Phil Hester, Mark Russel, Others
Artist: Cully Hamner, Phil Hester, Guiseppe Camuncoli, Yasmine Putri, Others
Cover: Yanick Paquette
Publisher:  DC Comics
Release Date: November 28th, 2018
Cover Price: $9.99

Previously in DC NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL: From the classic Christmas With The Super-Heroes Treasury Edition to the Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special and beyond, DC Comics has a long history of publishing fun, holiday-themed titles that give us a look at the stories which may not fit within a character’s regular monthly tales. With the DC Nuclear Winter Special, we continue that tradition.


Everyone makes the mistake eventually. You head out one day, not planning on being gone long, and before you know it you’re in the middle of nowhere and run out of gas. Well, Time Master Rip Hunter is no exception, unless you call running out of a charge for the Time Sphere while in a middle twenty-first-century apocalypse an exception. Yes, good old Rick pulled a smooth one and finds himself facing off against a trio of wasteland survivors who seem to have taken a liking to his physique, in a culinary way. Unfortunately, it will take a little while for the Time Sphere to gather power at an abandoned electric vehicle charging station, so how does he stop them from tenderizing him for their personal buffet? Why, he tells them stories from his vast knowledge of history and the future, all which have an appropriate holiday slant to them.

Within the pages of the DC Nuclear Winter Special are ten tales of holiday time, which includes the masterful framing sequence by the host of the book, Rip Hunter. Writer Mark Russell (The Flintstones, Prez) and artist Mike Norton (Battlepug, Green Arrow/Black Canary) give us a story in which Rip Hunter serves the role of host as he tells the survivors all about the cheer of the holidays around some of their favorite heroes. You see, the apocalypse on this Earth did not happen long before Rip’s arrival and these Oogle employees still have a connection to the super heroics of names such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Supergirl, Aquaman, Firestorm, Catwoman, Green Arrow, and even Kamandi. Granted, they may not be the versions of the heroes these Segway and scooter riding warriors know of, but they are heroes all the same.

Now, I won’t cover all of the stories in this review, but I would like to talk about my favorite three (outside of the wonderful framing sequence), and give you an idea about what you might expect.


In the 853rd Century, that era’s Superman, Kal Kent, arrives on Mars to visit an old friend. Jon Jonzz has returned to the Martian soil, essentially becoming one with the planet. It is the 687th day of the Martian year, and Superman has come to help the Manhunter celebrate the holiday of Memory Hearth. What follows goes to the beginning of a dynasty and how one hero was finally able to repay a debt he owed to one who saved him. Superman One Million stars in “Memory Hearth” by Steve Orlando (Justice League of America, Supergirl), Brad Walker (Aquaman, Green Lantern: New Guardians), and Andrew Hennessy (Sigil, All-New X-Men). The story reveals a hidden secret from Jon’s past and a gift he never thought to have again.

In “Last Christmas”, the Ronnie Raymond/Martin Stein version of Firestorm travels the wastes to an abandoned theme park. There is something he has been sent to uncover, but what he finds is not exactly what he was expecting. His old enemies, The Nuclear Family, are there, and celebrating a version of the holidays which may prove to be Firestorm’s last. Can Firestorm give them the best gift, or will they return it for a radioactive fallout? Paul Dini (Countdown to Final Crisis, Detective Comics) and Jerry Ordway (Adventures of Superman, The Power of SHAZAM!) team up to tell this story of understanding and family.

My third standout pick is “The Birds of Christmas Past, Present, and Future” from Dave Wielgosz (Nightwing, Batman Eternal) and Scott Kolins (The Flash, Blue Beetle). In the future, and older and more bitter Oliver Queen is invited to the annual Justice League Holiday party; a move which he intends to make them regret. While the younger heroes dance the night away, Ollie is confronted by his old sparring partner Hawkman, who had a special reason to invite the old archer. It seems at some point Ollie made a mistake and let go of the greatest love of his life. Now an older Black Canary looks to revisit her friend and close those wounds.


I chose to cover only these three stories because of my available space. But have no doubt, this is another great anthology. Yes, I LOVE anthologies, and this volume contains tales just as good as the ones I covered. The story of an aged Supergirl fighting to rescue her adopted daughter from a miserable existence, Flash looking back on sacrifices he made to save his friends, Catwoman discovering there are more important things in the world than diamonds and riches, Kamandi protecting a peaceful tribe from a violent attack, Aquaman on a quest to cleans an irradiated world, and Batman 666 confronting his past and finding reason to give thanks in a desolate Gotham City. Even the framing story, which tells not only of Rick Hunter’s attempt to stall for his life, but of a mega-corporation’s project gone wrong, is wonderfully told. These are all great stories. Some are heartwarming, some are funny, some are thrilling, but they all share a common thread of the holidays.

DC NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL #1 is a surprising holiday title that you wouldn’t think was a holiday title at first. It sneaks the holidays in, but warms the heart nevertheless.

DC Nuclear Winter Special #1

Sneaks the Holidays In

DC NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL #1 is a surprising holiday title that you wouldn’t think was a holiday title at first. It sneaks the holidays in, but warms the heart nevertheless.

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About Author

Back in February of 2008, Stacy Baugher wrote his first article for Major Spoilers and started a solid run of work that would last for over two years. He wrote the first series of Comic Casting Couch articles as well as multiple Golden Age Hero Histories, reviews and commentaries. After taking a hiatus from all things fandom he has returned to the Major Spoilers fold. He can currently be found on his blog, www.stacybaugher.com , were he post progress on his fiction work as well as his photography and life in general, and on Twitter under the handle @stacybaugher . If you're of a mind, he also takes on all comers with the under the Xbox Live Gamertag, Lost Hours. He currently lives in Clinton, Mississippi with his understanding wife, and two kids.

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