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Dec 31

Mighty Marvel Holiday Special: Iceman’s New Year’s Resolutions Infinity Comic #1

Posted on Friday, December 31, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

by Luciano Vecchio

Um, could we maybe have a think about coming up with more viable names for these things?

Anyway, with no regular X-books out this week, the X-Men round out the year with an Iceman Infinity Comic set on New Year’s Eve. Luciano Vecchio is best known as an artist; he’s worked on Ironheart and Champions. His previous writing credits for Marvel have been on short stories for the Voices anthologies, but this is closer to a full length story. And it’s absolutely fine, if squarely in the territory you’d expect from a holiday special comic.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and Iceman has decided to drop by Times Square to watch the ball drop. He’s on his own, so maybe the other mutants have stronger views on Covid. But the story was probably committed to this setting before Omicron took off, so fair enough.

Anyway, something goes wrong, Iceman investigates, and what do you know, it’s the ice demon Ikthalon attempting to harness the psychic energy of a big collective social event. Ikthalon wants to bring about a frozen world without progress, which seems to be setting us up for a bit of heavy handed metaphor about the right. But, in fact, it goes in a slightly more interesting direction than that, with Ikthalon deriding Iceman as a “stagnant living illusion of change” who keeps drifting back into the nice safe background.

Admittedly, from there we get a bit of a power-of-love ending, but hey, I’ve read an awful lot worse from this sort of story. It’s a serviceable little plot, it hits the brief of being a new year “looking to the future” story, and it finds some sort of hook in Iceman’s character development or lack thereof – which isn’t brushed aside so much as use to give him some motivation to do better in future. As holiday specials go, this is decent.

Vecchio’s a good artist for this. He’s got a nice clean line, maybe a bit cutesy, but it works for him. He’s also got some neat ideas on how to use the Infinity Comics’ vertically-scrolling format. I don’t know if he’s worked in this format elsewhere, but there are some inventive ideas here. Obviously it helps when your big visual motif is a ball moving vertically downwards, but hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. What’s more impressive is the way he uses the rhythm of the vertical scrolling, to set up a countdown and then subtly deviate from it in a way that makes you go “hold on, did I read that right”.

I’m still confused about who the intended audience is for these comics, and I can’t help suspecting that Marvel are too. Understandably, Marvel don’t want to risk alienating the wider audience by having anything too important happen in the Infinity books. The temptation is to see them as some sort of point of entry for the webtoons readership, but they only seem to be available to Marvel Unlimited subscribers – which you suspect must be the hardest of the hardcore. (So far as I can see, the free books on Unlimited are a handful of first issues and landmarks, and promotional comics like the startling product-placement exercise Black Panther: Soul of a Machine.)

Given the actual audience, then, Vecchio’s approach is probably fair enough – do a straightforward story that sits happily in continuity, and assume your audience don’t need to have an off-handed reference to Iceman’s meta role explained to them, let alone a mention of Christian Frost from Marauders. I’m not sure it’s the audience that it makes sense for Marvel to be targeting, but it’s the audience they are targeting, and Vecchio serves it nicely.

As with the X-Men Christmas story, this is thoroughly inessential but better than you’re probably expecting.


Bring on the comments

  1. David Goldfarb says:

    Hang on, I thought the MU just didn’t have COVID-19 at all?

  2. Col_Fury says:

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    I hope your 2022 will be better than your 2021 was, even if your ’21 was great!

  3. Si says:

    The strangest thing is the one character who wears a surgical mask as his costume, Dr Nemesis, was redesigned to not wear a mask. I don’t think that was accidental. It’s a strange stance. But anyway, one would assume Iceman is immune to all viruses, turning into ice as he does. Does he even breathe?

    The ball dropping scene is done well, and I did indeed think “did I read that right?”. There’s only a couple of comics so far that have found really good tricks with vertical scrolling, hopefully they continue to innovate. I imagine you could do Warlock (Cypher’s buddy) in a fun way.

    The story itself didn’t do much for me. The subtext was kind of interesting, but on the whole, not for me.

  4. Chris V says:

    I don’t believe that the Marvel Universe does have the Covid-19 virus.
    It’s no longer the “world outside your window”. Krakoa is the Marvel Universe’s lone superpower. Mars was colonized by Arakko. It’s a brave new world.

    Ikthalon has actually not been seen again since his first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #14 (1973), when the Son of Satan destroyed his body.

  5. Mark Coale says:

    Maybe one of the Karakoan miracle drugs cured COVID.

  6. Bloodredcookie says:

    Are we going to talk about the scene in this book where Iceman kisses himself? Because that was a thing that happened.

  7. Si says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot that scene. It will launch a thousand pornographic fanfics no doubt.

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