Former Marvel-exclusive writer makes her full-fledged DC debut with a novel spin on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in December 14's Batman: Urban Legends #10. 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.
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-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.
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 and Rankin/Bass's The Year Without a Santa Claus, along with holiday songs such as Keith Harling's 'Santa Got a Semi' and The Waitresses' 'Christmas Wrapping.'
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 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.