Review: Red X-Mas #1 (updated)
In Red X-Mas #1, when Mrs. Claus dies in a tragic toy accident, Santa vows to make all those little brats pay! But when his rampage kicks off at the home of FBI agent Ellie Tewksberry, he messes with the wrong lady. Mama Bear will travel to the ends of the earth to save her son-and Christmas! This December, Santa must die!
Written by Clay Adams and Alexandre O. Philippe, featuring artist Fabio Ramacci and colorist Hariq Chiocca, Red X-Mas #1 is not a book for kids. This comic is the story for people who love the magic and wonder of Christmas but also want to see a more realistic attitude from the elves. There’s no sunshine and rainbows across the snow; no elf dust and sparkles floating in the air of the workshop. instead we see a bunch of elves coming up against the crunch deadline as they try desperately to get Santa ready for his delivery.
There’s a lot of workplace humour in the comic, and there’s something remarkably funny about seeing the elves swear as their frustration mounts at the encroaching deadline – something that most of us are probably more than familiar with. Red X-Mas #1 pokes a lot of fun at the stereotypes surrounding Santa, and while this is a really funny book, there’s also moments where you find yourself pausing as the comic hits you with a single line or two of dialogue that’s incredibly sad and depressing when you think about it for more than half a second.
This isn’t a happy go lucky Santa story at all.
In the sixteen pages of Red X-Mas #1 you’re taken on a rollercoaster ride that feels longer than it is (because of the amount of story packed in, not because it was a chore to read). This book’s a lot of fun, but there’s an emotional weight to it as well – the writers avoid overly expositional dialogue for the most part, choosing to show rather than tell.
I want to address an elephant in the room, or rather on the shelf, before we go any further. The comic I read was sixteen pages long, but a look at the cover shows the price is $3.99 – for a comic that’s just over two thirds the size of your average $4/24 page comic. Red X-Mas #1 is good, hell I laughed a lot while reading it, but it’s tough justify somebody paying full price for the amount of story you get here (honestly, if the book was $2.49 or $2.99 then this paragraph would read differently). That being said, there may be additional story/ies within the final product that justifies the price, but the review copy only had sixteen pages, and so that’s what I’m basing the review on.
So is this book worth buying? I’m not sure – I enjoyed it quite a lot, and if there was more content and/or a lower price point I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to pick this up. As it is? As much as I enjoyed the book, I wouldn’t want to pay $4 for it.
Addendum: The copy that Graphic Policy was provided was not the full version of the comic. Given that, my concerns about value for money are assuaged – though I’ve no comment on the quality of the pages I haven’t read.
Addendum II: After the above review was posted, Scout Comics sent the full review copy through, and after having read the comic, I’ve updated the recommendation at the end. A few brief thoughts about the full story:
- This isn’t a happy/fun comic – there is one or two attempted jokes that fall flat (there’s a line in the second half of the comic that fails as a joke but succeeds at illustrating how people in power will take advantage of you in anyway that they can).
- Red X-Mas shows people at their most desperate; it’s not always comfortable reading, but this comic isn’t supposed to be. It’s a challenging issue to read, but one that is rewarding if you take the plunge.
To go back to the final question of the first version of this review (which you can find unedited above) is whether the book is worth buying? Yes, after reading the full issue, it certainly is. It may not be your cup of tea, but it’s an interesting comic that will be popular among those who like this type of story.
Story: Clay Adams and Alexandre O. Philippe Art: Fabio Ramacci Colors: Hariq Chiocca
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation:
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review