The Batman family act out their own Dickensian Christmas Carol in Urban Legends #10

Former Marvel-exclusive writer makes her full-fledged DC debut with a novel spin on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (opens in new tab) in December 14’s Batman: Urban Legends #10 (opens in new tab). Drawn by Christian Duce, Howard’s story in this anthology is titled ‘The Bats of Christmas Past,’ with Nightwing in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Batman: Urban Legends #10 cover

Batman: Urban Legends #10 cover (Image credit: Belen Ortega/Adriano Lucas (DC))

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Spoilers ahead for Batman: Urban Legends #10.

While we won’t spoil the ending of the story just yet (where’s the holiday spirit in that), we can say that Howard’s take on a holiday-themed Bat-family story is charming and inspired. It’s no secret that Nightwing is one of the writer’s favorite characters of all of comics, but this also works to feature the Bat-Family from his perspective, even with Batman as the soon-to-be absent father (as he’s leaving Gotham City).

It all begins on Christmas Eve with Nightwing foiling a shopping dispute gone wrong in a Blüdhaven big box store. While there however, he chances upon some errant Scarecrow goons who hadn’t been captured like their boss had yet in the wake of the ‘Fear State’ crossover.

As he engages in a chase with these Scarecrow flunkies, Nightwing is exposed to a new variant of the Fear Toxin – which as the night goes on, gives him hallucinations which turns this into a Scrooged (opens in new tab)-esque story.

So who are the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future? Batgirl. All three of them (Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain), just as they debut in their own Batgirls series that very same day.

Batman: Urban Legends #10 excerpt

Batman: Urban Legends #10 excerpt (Image credit: Christian Duce/Sarah Stern/Becca Carey (DC))

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That’s partly because Nightwing is expected to be attending a Bat-family Christmas party at Bruce Wayne’s brownstone home, and his decision to go out crime-fighting is at odds with what his found family was hoping for.

And therein lies the conflict – will Nightwing celebrate Christmas with his family, and why is he avoiding it so much?

Howard and Duce have managed to work in copious references to some Christmas favorites including films such as Home Alone (opens in new tab) and Rankin/Bass’s The Year Without a Santa Claus (opens in new tab), along with holiday songs such as Keith Harling’s ‘Santa Got a Semi (opens in new tab)‘ and The Waitresses’ ‘Christmas Wrapping (opens in new tab).’

Batman: Urban Legends #10 excerpt

Batman: Urban Legends #10 excerpt (Image credit: Christian Duce/Sarah Stern/Becca Carey (DC))

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This isn’t the first time Dickens’ Christmas classic has inspired a Bat-family story – 1995’s Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight – Halloween Special #3 (opens in new tab) recast the story as a Halloween tale, with Batman filling the role of ol’ Scrooge.

So if this sounds like the story for you, check out ‘The Bats of Christmas Past’ in Batman: Urban Legends #10.

How do you pick your favorite Bat-family members? We try with our list of the best Batman family characters

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