It’s that time of year when comic book publishers throw together their extra sized holiday specials to bring some cheer, laughs, and good times. Marvel’s involves Gwenpool and a whopping 5 stories. We delve deep to answer the question, is it good?
Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out the preview to find out more.
Why does this book matter?
There’s a lot of talent on this book from Ryan North to Christopher Hastings, Myisha Haynes to Nathan Stockman. Four of the five stories deal relatively within the same parameters (a world where Santa is not a thing and instead Galactus delivers gifts and Pantsgiving is a thing) which makes them feel slightly cohesive. Plus there’s a fifth and final story focused on Deadpool attempting to enjoy Halloween in customarily wacky – and violent – fashion!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This story is so funny it’s worth the price of the entire comic.
The first story written by Christopher Hastings and drawn by Myisha Haynes introduces the wacky elseworld mishap Gwenpool uncovers which sets up the other stories; the real payoff is later (this story is split up) which involves a resolution and explanation for what is going on. There are some fantastic monsters drawn by Haynes as well as some fun Galactus appearances.
Ryan North writes the second story which focuses on Miles Morales in Times Square and drawn by Spidey artist Nathan Stockman. Customary to North’s stories, there are some funny and sometimes hilarious bottom of the page footnotes. It also focuses in on Galactus in hilarious fashion and makes the character believable as a Santa Claus fill in.
The third story, written by Karla Pacheco with art by Oscar Bazaldua focuses on the Pantsgiving holiday introduced in the first short portion of the comic; this one weaves in Fin Fang Foom quite well and allows Punisher to reflect on the ridiculous holiday.
This footnote is hilarious.
The fourth story by writer Nick Kocher and artist Bruno Oliveira may be the funniest and most offensive story of the bunch. Red Skull discovers corporate no longer allows “Hail Hydra” to be said and instead you’re supposed to say “Hail Hatred.” It’s a hilarious take on the “War on Christmas” and it comes complete with a fantastic Hitler sequence. (Yes, I never thought I’d use the word “fantastic” and that name in the same sentence either.) I imagine some will be offended by these scenes, but they were wonderfully over the top and funny. Artist Oliveira does a great job showing Red Skull’s angry expressions and perturbed attitude over the whole thing.
Finally the last story by Chynna Clugston Flores is a lot of Halloween fun. There’s s funny summary page that opens it (with Irene Y. Lee’s Lil’l Deadpool) that should not be missed that explains this is a “holiday” special so get over the fact that it’s not a December holiday story. Deadpool is hilarious in this short as he attempts to get into the Halloween spirit after being disappointed with some trick or treaters. It ends up using Squirrel Girl well and has some clever movie tie-in jokes.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The Pantsgiving story is less funny and more a truthful reflection on the silly short shorts superheroes wear. The premise is funny, but it doesn’t quite hold itself up enough to warrant laughs.
The opening with Gwenpool also runs at a slow pace lacking a lot of laughs. There’s some funny reworking of Christmas songs, but the real chuckles occur when it picks up later.
Is It Good?
For $5.99 this is a great deal as I found myself enjoying nearly every page of it. The general premise allows the creators to play around with the ridiculousness of the holiday season and push the envelope in creative ways. Bottom line: If you want a laugh buy Gwenpool Holiday Special.