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Dec 23

Mighty Marvel Holiday Special – Happy Holidays, Mr Howlett Infinity Comic #1

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

by Ryan North, Nathan Stockman & Chris O’Halloran

Yes, that’s the title. Don’t look at me.

Hey, it’s an X-book. And it’s probably meant to be canon, too. Not that anything’s ever likely to turn on whether this is canon or not, admittedly, but if it matters, it probably is.

So it’s a few years back – the costumes say early to mid 90s – and the X-Men are holding a party for the general public as some sort of public relations event. Which isn’t really the sort of thing they did back then, but sure, they probably should have. Professor X is there in his hover wheelchair, and he’s not openly associated with the X-Men at this point, but he is publicly known as a mutant rights activist so… again, sure. Okay. And Nightcrawler and Shadowcat are there too, but fine, they’re visiting. I mean, it doesn’t quite fit, but it’s not a big problem.

And the schtick is that everyone is having fun at this thing except for Wolverine, who doesn’t like joining in with fun things. Since this is a Ryan North comic, it’s not quite as basic as saying that Wolverine is a grinch. He just doesn’t particularly want to be part of this, he doesn’t really see what his unique skillset of razor sharp blades can contribute to the world of children’s entertainment, and he’d prefer not to be there. (“I’m not grumpy. I’m… I’m brusque. And content in solitude. There’s a difference.”)

So about half the book is Jubilee trying to cheer up Wolverine and get him to join in, and Wolverine doing his thing until she finally gives up. At which point he realises that he’s maybe overdone it a bit.

But wait! Wolverine is the good guy, so of course he’s going to do good things at Christmas. So, after the annoying party is over, he meets up for his annual stint at the soup kitchen alongside Mystique, because they’re both grumpy old cynics but this is their shared way of doing something nice. And… yes, there’s a part of me that wonders how many annual traditions Wolverine can fit in, because they’re starting to mount up. Is he still seeing those elephants? I do hope so.

On one level, this is just what you expect from a Christmas Infinity Comic. It’s a straightforward little story about how a popular character really does like Christmas in his own way despite it all. To be fair, though, it’s a pretty well executed version of that story. North gets the angle that Wolverine has a persona that he’s reluctant to drop even around his friends, and doesn’t hammer it too hard. The idea that he and Mystique have enough weird parallels as characters who’ve been around forever – and they do have a shared history going back a century or so in continuity – sort of works too, and it’s not really hammered either. Stockman’s art is straightforward, and I’ve seen more inventive uses of the vertical scrolling format, but it’s perfectly fine for the job.

So there’s a bit going on beneath the surface if you’re looking for it. The characters feel right, which is probably why it gets away with the annual meeting with Mystique thing. But mainly it’s a comic that hits the brief and does what it needs to.

It’s basically what it sounds like, but done better than you’re probably expecting.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    Kind of dumb, but at least there were no Santa Claws jokes.

  2. Chris says:

    You know when souo kitchens have the biggest need for volunteers?

    Not Christmas

    The single most unbelievable thing about this story is that there is a soul kitchen somewhere in the Marvel Universe that has a use for two more asshats at Christmas.

    It would be more heroic and less cliché if it was at a time of year where soup kitchens have a dearth 9f volunteers.

  3. Ben says:

    You’ve sold me, Chris. I will only volunteer at soup kitchens in July from now on, I just hope they serve gazpacho. July is hot for most soups.

  4. Thom H. says:

    I love the idea that Mystique of all people is volunteering at the soup kitchen. Sure, she’s a murdering mutant-supremacist some of the time — but not at Christmas!

  5. Chris says:

    I shit you not

    Soup kitchens need help

    But not at holidays.

  6. Allan M says:

    I’ve volunteered at soup kitchens, and yeah, Chris is right, the holidays are when they have the most people willing to help out. It’s July, when white collar people are on vacation, that people still need to eat and there’s nobody to help. If you want to volunteer and really help people, avoid the holidays. Off-peak is where you’re needed.

  7. Chris says:

    Boy Wolverine and Mystique sure are heroic, helping out when everyone does where they are needed least.

    It makes him sound like a hipster that stole an idea from a sitcom.

    It also sounds like Moe from the Simpsons.

  8. Chris V says:

    I bet he stole the idea from Full House.
    Logan would say he was too cool to watch it, but I know he was patterning himself after Uncle Jesse during the late-1980s.

    Mystique was in the role of Stephanie, who needed to be taught what Christmas is all about by Uncle Logan.

  9. […] O’Brien reviews the seasonal schtick of Ryan North, Nathan Stockman, et al’s Mighty Marvel Holiday Special; the unnecessary existence of Steven S. DeKnight, Ibrahim Moustafa, et al’s Wastelanders: […]

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