Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Jack, Merry X-Men, Groonk Tidings

You’re a nice one, Mr. Skellington.

Wow, the year’s almost over. Well, enjoy the holidays, whether ye believe or not. May there be lasting peace on Earth for real.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Christmas-y comic books. Again, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, and May Your Days Be Merry and Bright.

X-Factor # 27, “Gifts”- Shortly after defeating Apocalypse’s Horsemen, the team is given truckloads of gifts by grateful New Yorkers. The original X-Men’s young wards (Rusty, Skids, Boom Boom, Rictor, Artie and Leech) play Santa and bring the presents to sick kids and those hurt by Apocalypse’s attack.

Thor # 444, “How the Groonk Stole Christmas”- The story, dedicated to Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, introduces a green-furred monster in a Santa suit, the Groonk. Just imagine a hairier Hulk with the Grinch’s head. He steals gifts and gives them to homeless people. In a recent Marvel Handbook, it was revealed that he was one of the tunnel-dwelling mutant Morlocks.

Uncanny X-Men # 230, “’Twas the Night”- The team takes over the Reavers’ old base in Australia. But the place is filthy, so has-been diva Dazzler makes her disgust known. The heroes clean up the place and--using Longshot’s psychometry and Gateway’s teleporting power--return countless items from the Reavers’ trove to their original owners. Just in time for Christmas! Dazzler gets a nice bike; Gateway gets a slice of cake and a flute.

Little Archie # 566, “Land of the Lost,” etc. - This has wholesome short stories for kids. They’re all about generosity and goodwill: Little Archie discovers the town’s hidden elf workshop. Little Sabrina’s Christmas tree brings magic to human and animal families. And Miss Grundy’s students perform their play for orphans.

JSA # 55, “Be Good for Goodness’ Sake”- The Justice Society’s older members foil a Christmas Eve robbery. The store’s Santa helps out the heroes. It’s Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado, in disguise. The Society members invite the old heroine to be their museum curator, and she accepts. The younger JSA-ers welcome her, as well.

Alan Moore’s Tomorrow Stories # 5, “A Christmas Cop-Out”- After the First American fires his sidekick US Angel because he doesn’t want to share the book logo and royalties, the costumed dimwit is visited by Christmas Carol-esque ghosts. Really hilarious 6-pager.

Cloak and Dagger # 11, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”- Cloak, Dagger and Bill Clayton teleport to the Middle East on Christmas Eve and find themselves in the middle of warring factions. Bill is exposed as a double-dealing guy, but takes a bullet meant for Dagger. A revenge-obsessed woman spares the life of Bill’s pregnant assailant, who soon gives birth. Dagger sums it up: “A baby’s just been delivered to a woman of one religious faction in the hospital of another faith, located in the birthplace of the messiah of a third religion.”

X-Men # 165, “Hark How the Bells--!”- The X-teachers and their students take a break and have a fun party. Many mutants from various X-teams and the Academy X squads appear (it’s still some time before the “No More Mutants” nonsense). Lila Cheney and her band perform, Jubilee flashes fireworks, and Iceman throws a snowball at Emma Frost. Absent friends Xavier and Magneto are there in spirit (or astral forms, to be exact). Some humans that the X-Men saved earlier join the revelries, too.

GLX-Mas Special, “Eggnog, Toilet Paper and Peace on Earth,” etc.- The Great Lakes Avengers (or GLX-Men, Or Great Lakes Champions) spend the holidays fighting foes and dealing with their lives in this entertaining one-shot. Mr. Immortal reminisces about holidays past with a loved one. Doorman visits his dad for the last time. And Squirrel Girl defeats Thanos on Christmas Eve, while the Watcher watches.

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