Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix Up #1 Review

Posted December 14, 2016 by Alexander Handziuk in Comic Books

Written by: Christopher Hastings, Ryan North, Karla Pacheco, Nick Kocher, Deadpool

Art by: Myisha Haynes, Nathan Stockman, Oscar Bazaldua, Bruno Oliviera, Deadpool

Publisher: Marvel Comics

(I’m not going to go into too many spoilers, as these stories rely on humour and I don’t want to spoil the jokes, but instead am going to give my brief thoughts and a bit of a synopsis.)

In total there are 5 stories contained in this year’s holiday special; Gwenpool’s Unbelievable Christmas (a.k.a. the Gwenpool Holiday Special For Real This Time), I Saw Spidey Kissing Galactus The Bringer of Gifts, The War on Pantsgiving, Happy Hydra Holidays, and a bonus Deadpool comic at the end. So without further ado, here’s what we thought of this year’s Marvel Holiday comic.

For a book with Gwenpool in the title, Marvel’s 2016 holiday special really doesn’t do a whole lot with its title character. And while she receives the most page time, the humour that makes her solo series such a joy to read is strangely stilted. There is a lot of dialogue going on in Gwenpool’s parts of the book, and while a couple jokes manage to land, the majority fall flat and read as a real missed opportunity. The art by Myisha Haynes is good, but her over the top and super expressive style clashes with the underwhelming dialogue.

That being said, as much as the Gwenpool portions of this issue aren’t up to snuff with her current solo series, the book wonderfully channels the spirit of Gwenpool in the stories featuring other characters.

I Saw Spidey Kissing Galactus The Bringer of Gifts, is hilarious, heartwarming, and it features a giant dragon named Fin Fang Foom! The dialogue is sharp as it brings many laughs, and Galactus’ role as a Santa Claus like being is contagiously silly. It stands out as the one of the top two installments in this special.

The War on Pantsgiving is a goofier story, that never really leans fully into the absurdity of its subject matter. Fin Fang Foom makes another appearance but is unable to capture the magic from his previous romp in this alternate Marvel Universe. That being said, the art is stellar and the story does feature a few standout, hot pants related moments that left me smiling.

Happy Hydra Holidays takes a light hearted stab at political correctness and produces some of the best interactions that I have ever seen in a Marvel comic. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is a scene stealer here and brings his trademark sass along for the ride. There are a few strange moments, one including Hitler’s ghost that just seem a bit too wacky for wacky’s sake, but overall it’s a fun, well drawn little story.

Finally, the Deadpool story, (which isn’t featured in the table of contents) is a comic premise as it really milks the idea of a, “Holiday Special” but unfortunately doesn’t make good on the potential. The art is overly chaotic and the story misses almost all the humorous beats.

Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix Up #1 is a fun if mixed bag collection of festive stories that vary in quality . While a couple of stories left me feeling cold, there are enough laughs inside the more than 60 page issue to warm even my frozen heart. If you enjoy seeing your favourite (or least favourite) Marvel characters reimagined in a wacky-holiday way then this may be the Holiday Special for you.

About the Author

Alexander Handziuk

Alex is a comic aficionado who loves Aquaman, Overwatch, the musical Hamilton and medium length strolls on beaches. Check him out on the Comics Dash Podcast, on twitter at @axehandziuk and in real life patrolling the borders of Canada.