You know what I’m going to say. Sweet Christmas.
David Walker (W), Scott Hepburn (A), Matt Milla
Cover by Jamal Campbell (CA)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Merry Christmas Eve, First Day of Chanukah, and two days until Kwanza people! What better way to celebrate the first Annual of 2016’s Power Man and Iron Fist than a Sweet Christmas reviewed on Christmas Eve? I’ve been looking for this for months. Nothing could be a better Christmas present to your old friend, the B-List Defender (Pokémon Sun notwithstanding).
Spoiler alert, this comic is marvelous.
It starts off with an announcement by a very shady-looking businessman announcing a toy called a Schnuckie and the opening of a toy store called Toyverse in Time Square. It’s the biggest toy store in the world.
We next see Luke Cage and Danny Rand taking young Danielle Rand to the toy store to get her a Schnukie. Danny wants one too. Luke Cage gets a call from Jessica Drew aka Spider Woman with her own child and begs Luke to help her. As it turns out she is just behind Mr. Cage. We see an agitated man in a Santa costume as well as a fight breaking out between customers breaking out in the background.
Luke helps out Jessica, and Danielle notices something off about the toys. The man in the Santa costume, who turns out to be Damien Hellstrom aka the Son of Satan confronts the creator of the toys. The toymaker turns out to be a demon, more specifically actual Krampus. The Schuckies come to life and begin attacking everyone while Damien does battle with Krampus whom wants to “dine on the souls of humanity.”
Luke, Danny, and Jessica dispatch a number of the demonic Schnuckies, and Damien finds them and explains the situation to them. He informs them that Krampus dines on the corrupted souls of children, and he has only been dispatched by St. Nicholas. The heroes decide to hunt down Krampus, and Damien tells them the extent of the situation, specifically that this is a global invasion. The comic shows Ms. Marvel, the Punisher, Doctor Strange, Medusa, Spider-Man, and some ugly jackass in a red mask fighting the Schuckies elsewhere.
The Damien, Luke, Danny, and Jess track down Krampus and try to bring him down. The fight is looking bad for them until honest-to-God Saint Nicholas comes to the rescue. He holds off the Schuckies while Luke and Danny bring down the Krampus himself. They incapacitate him, and Saint Nicholas banishes Krampus from the realm.
Then the warrior Saint tells the heroes that, while the Krampus is gone, the sickness of greed and apathy that allowed him to enter the realm still remains. The comic ends with Danielle delivering her first “Sweet Christmas.”
This comic was everything I could have wanted it to be. Remember my criticism of the All-New, All-Different Avengers Annual #1 and how it failed at doing everything that an Annual should? This is a how-to guide on how to write an Annual. The story is epic, there are plenty of guest stars, and it never leaves the reader bored.
The story is set up perfectly with the establishment of the villain at the beginning of the comic, and the foreshadowing to him being the bad guy is visually established with some not-so-subtle shading around his eyes. He’s a classic demonic bad guy, wanting to corrupt people, eat souls, and rule the world.
The comic is also hilarious and upbeat throughout. The jokes and humor come fast, and the punchlines almost always strike home. The action is constant and exciting. The art is pretty great, though there are some moments where Danny specifically looks kind of ugly.
Danielle is adorable. She’s kind of the stereotypical fearless child character, but it’s far better than her crying and beingscared all the time like Dakota Fanning’s character from Spielberg’s War of the Worlds remake (topical reference).
The chemistry between Luke, Danny, Jess, and Damien is perfectly established, and you know exactly how all of the characters feel about one another. Saint Nicholas is a consummate badass, and it’s awesome watching Santa Claus beat the unholy mess out of a freaking demon.
The only weak point of the plot is that it’s said that Krampus can only enter our realm on Christmas, but he opened Toyverse on Thanksgiving Night and presumably would have had to have been working on getting the space before then. That’s a minor complaint though, and it doesn’t take away from the story at hand unless you’re a real stickler.
What can I say? This comic excited me and it delivered on all counts. It’s funny, charming, fast-paced, and all-around enjoyable. It stars the greatest dynamic duo of comic books, the Spider Woman, the Son of Satan, and freaking Santa Claus. What’s not to love?
Have a Sweet Christmas, happy holidays, and I’ll see you in 2017.
Final Score: 10/10 Sweet Christmas indeed.