REVIEW: Gwenpool – Holiday Special – Merry Mix-Up #1

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Writers: Christopher Hastings, Ryan North, Karla Pacheco, & Nick Kocher
Artists: Myisha Haynes, Nathan Stockman, Oscar Bazaldua, & Bruno Oliveira
Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg, Jim Campbell, & Andres Mossa
Letterers: Clayton Cowles, &  Travis Lanham
Release Date: 12/14/16
Rating: Rated T+
Price: $4.99

Gwen Poole lived in the real world where the characters from the Marvel Universe were just that, characters. They were all from the pages of comic books, and she knew all their stories. She came to the Marvel Universe and wasn’t happy being a backup character and sought to be a hero, but she didn’t care about morality so  she fashioned her costume and persona in the Deadpool vein, becoming Gwenpool!

Plot: Last year Gwenpool was VERY new to the Marvel Universe so she crashed She-Hulk’s Party, and now this year she has her own Special, but like Gwenpool herself it’s a little mixed up!

Writers: Christopher Hastings
Artists: Myisha Haynes
Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterers: Clayton Cowles

Plot: Gwen hears about the traditional holidays in the Marvel Universe. Where Galactus plays the role of Santa, Pantsgiving, and the Keister Bunny are things  and more. It is up to Gwenpool to find out what caused this Holiday Mix-up and fix it!

Story: The story is fun. The great thing about Gwenpool is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. This can get old at times, but for this story it works! They poke fun at last year’s special here with the title, because they promoted it as her big debut comic, and it turned out to be a Marvel Universe/She-Hulk & Friends Holiday Special with Gwenpool like the “Where’s Waldo” type character.

I loved the Feast of The Seven Fishes part especially. This is something that most of the world doesn’t know about. This is very much a North Eastern/Italian American/Catholic tradition. Basically you eat seven seafood dishes on Christmas Eve, and if you don’t live in like the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York area, you probably never heard of it. I laughed when I seen their revised version of this with Namor making it rain fish. Little things like that really made this story a fun read.

Art:  The art here was very light and cartoony. It gave a fun feel for this holiday special and made me feel the light-hearted spirit of the story. The coloring added to that and the palette was very seasonal.

Writers: Ryan North
Artists: Nathan Stockman
Colorists: Jim Campbell
Letterers: Clayton Cowles

Plot: Miles Morales still believes in Galactus (Santa Claus) and has to face off against some of the biggest bads in the Marvel Universe to save Christmas!

Story: Another fun story that pokes fun at both the traditions of Christmas and the characters themselves. “Galactus” helpers dressing up as him in shopping malls and taking pics with kids. The nine Heralds (Silver Surfers), one even has a nose so bright!

I love that Miles believes in Galactus given that Galactus pretty much destroyed the Ultimate Universe prior to the merge in Secret Wars. Miles and Ganke had such great give and take here, that I felt like I was reading classic Miles. Miles finally meets the real Galactus, but like a lot of traditional Christmas stories, only he can see Galactus and everyone else thinks he is crazy for believing in him still. In the end, Miles finds himself on Galactus’ Nice List with a stocking full of new Web Shooters, cartridges and more!

Art:  The art here was light and fun, made me feel like I was reading a Christmastime comic strip, which was fun. The colors really bounced off each other and I found myself finding all the small changes to the traditional Christmas settings.

Writers: Karla Pacheco
Artists: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorists: Andres Mossa
Letterers: Travis Lanham

Plot: Happy Pantsgiving the holiday where everyone gives each other tacky hot pants!

Story: I admit the first two stories are nice fun stories in the Christmas theme. I mean come on t’is the season right? But this one takes a little step back. Is Pantsgiving Thanksgiving? Is it another holiday? We are never really told.  

No one seems to celebrate (due to it being totally embarrassing) Pantsgiving much any more and this affects Big ROnnie’s sales! Big Ronnie sells hot pants and relies on this day to keep her store in business, So when no one shops, she summons Fin Fang Foom to terrify the city into buying them, and only the Punisher (who likes the holiday?) can defeat him.

I felt this one disconnected some. Yes it tells the big disconnect of traditional holidays we know, and adds some great inside jokes, like Carol and Monica discussing the dress code for Captain Marvel. But it doesn’t connect Gwen in to it, it doesn’t say when it is really, and I kept thinking it would have been funnier if it was Spanksgiving.

Art:  The art here was ok, light, and breezy to keep the fun animated tone going. The coloring was unusually bright for a Punisher featuring story, but again fit with the Holiday theme.  

Writers: Nick Kocher
Artists: Bruno Oliveira
Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterers: Travis Lanham

Plot: All the evil organizations in the world have united with Hydra and they have taken over the Eastern seaboard, but to be more inclusive Red Skull finds out he can no longer say Hail Hydra, but instead Hail Hatred, and he is not happy.

Story: This was a fun, inappropriate not so subtle knock at “Happy Holidays” replacing “Merry Christmas” everywhere. I kept laughing at this but also felt like I shouldn’t which made it even better. When Red Skull confronts Jared the “Social Media Director” of this coalition of evil organizations that initiated this change for political, or evil correctness, I was cracking up because it sounds so stupid when you see it in this exaggerated parody.

Then the REAL awkward moment comes when Red Skull has his “Christmas Carol” moment and has a visit from the Ghost of the past, Hitler, yeah it turns here. Red Skull wakes up and realizes it doesn’t matter who they hail it is all about their unity in hatred. But while he slept the heroes came and defeated the coalition and Red Skull is escorted away in chains.

Art:  The art here kept the fun tone to it (yes even the Christmas Carol  interlude), and the colors remained constant as well. The Christmas Carol part really seemed awkward with them looking so cartoony, but it added to the feel.

I am not talking about the Deadpool Halloween story it is kept off of the credits age and should have been kept out of the book. No need for a Halloween story here, the “humor” of it did not fit.

Verdict: Overall, I liked this issue. If you don’t take it too seriously it is a nice fun read, but still not enough Gwenpool for a “Gwenpool Holiday Special”. Who knows maybe in 4 years we will get one where she is a part of the entire thing?


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