It’s Christmas time in Titans Tower, and that means presents, milk and cookies, and deciphering the true identity of Santa Claus.

…wait, what?

Yes, it appears that the Titans have more questions about dear old Saint Nick’s actual identity that tradition and actual history do not satisfy.

It all starts innocently enough, with the group decorating for the holidays.  Right up front, I’m delighted to say that this is a wonderfully illustrated issue.  Marcelo DiChiara always turns in great work in the title, but he goes the extra mile with the holiday theme.  Besides the great looking characters, the festive decorations are bright and colorful, giving this issue a pleasing aesthetic that is never garish.  It’s kind of amazing, because if any title would go over the top with goofy cheer it would be Teen Titans Go!, but no.  DiChiara and colorist Franco Riesco show admirable, tasteful restraint.

The weakest part of the issue is the opening few pages, where Beast Boy sings the “Batman smells” version of “Jingle Bells.”  It’s a tired, easy joke and from that I thought this story would be phoned in, but it quickly turns around and becomes something incredibly enjoyable.

And, I mean, it’s so dumb, but that’s what makes it so fun.

So yeah.  The Titans theorize that Santa and Batman are one and the same.  Robin dismisses this as ludicrous, of course, but even he turns around at one point.  The logic is silly, but not exactly unsound: Santa hangs out on rooftops, and so does Batman.  Perfect fit!

Its really just am continuous stream of jokes and sight gags, but when they’re genuinely funny that’s more than ok.  Real talk: if Batman is actually Santa, and the Batcave is his headquarters, why wouldn’t he say it’s actually the North Pole just to throw people off of his scent?  It makes perfect sense, with the added bonus of trolling Superman.

Sholly Fisch is a funny guy, and he’s sharp too.  There are a few pretty smart lines, like “Sure, ‘Keep Cyborg away from the cookies.’  This is how fascism starts.”  Over the top?  Sure, but I still laughed.

It starts predictably and ends the same, but everything in between made this installment a blast to read.  I laughed, I loved the visuals, and I learned some probably-not-truths about the Dark Knight and jolly old Saint Nicholas.  For a buck, that’s not a bad deal at all.

Recommended if:

  • You need a dose of Christmas cheer.
  • You want to know the “truth” about Santa and/or Batman.

Overall: Both silly and smart, this may be the best TTG issue I’ve read.  It’s full of Christmas imagery yet never becomes schlocky or irreverent, and the writing is as sharp as it is goofy.  I loved the look of it, the jokes are great, and even with a soft opening and ending this was a blast to read.

SCORE: 9/10