Christmas somewhat fails in an application to the cosmos. The origin of Christmas is from a hijacking by early members of the Christian church. What was an observance of the solstice for previous religions was easily enough stolen and repurposed for the birth of the prophet, which historians believe was at least two weeks later (closer to what Orthodox worshippers observe.) This leaves the solstice being more of an astronomical irregularity, and on the cosmic scale, it is mostly unimportant at the specific time at which planet Earth is exactly at the point where its rotation and axis being offset by 23.5 degrees matches the point in its revolution when this is most directly over that difference. So too is Christmas a social phenomenon, not necessarily observed by Christians, but one which is obviously not going to be observed by alien species that have never been in contact with humans.
These are the challenges that the Flash Gordon Holiday Special faces, and although it does lack some of the relevance, the creative teams do their best to mix the cosmos with the festivities. By far the weakest of the three entries in this special is the first, which tries to match the holidays of an alien planet to those of Earth. Although it is a worthy enough attempt, it is still a bit of a misfire, as Flash live through various puns of Christmas traditions. Much better are the following two stories, the middle one dealing with Hanukah and the final one dealing with New Year’s Eve celebrations. The story dealing with Hanukah is a smarter approach to incorporating in the stories of the Christmas with those of the cosmos. A lone alien stranded on Earth finds a strange friendship with a Jewish family, when that family needed it the most. The best story of the group is the last, focusing on Dale Arden and her continued failures to have a good time on New Year’s Eve, a common enough failure for people with high expectations for this day. It revisits some of her failures and then shows how she is happiest.
What could have been a mismatch in terms of context, content and concept ends up being a nice enough issue dealing with the holiday season. While at times it does feel like a bit of a reach to make this relevant, it fits in nicely. Flash Gordon is after all a pulp character from another time, and so some of the anachronistic Christmas practices also don’t really feel out of place here. Those looking for a nice and quaint holiday themed issue will find it here, but those liking neither science fiction nor the holidays might find this a bit taxing.
Story: Dan McCoy, Elliot Kalan, and Stuart Wellington Art: Joseph Cooper, Lara Margarida and Stephen Downey
Story: 7.7 Art: 7.7 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read
Dynamite provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review