“How did this get published?”
Spider-Man/Deadpool HO-Ho-Holiday Special
Writer: Nick Giovannetti & Paul Scheer
Artist: Todd Nauck
Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover: Dave Johnson
Editors: Jordan B White & Nick Lowe
G’day mates. Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Feels like a awhile since I have covered this series particularly with this being a Christmas issue released after Christmas I’m going to assume there were some delays. So was it worth the wait? Lets find out.
Spider-man is sad that Deadpool is having an avengers Christmas party to which he wasn’t invited. Deadpool soon offends enough folks to be kicked out of his own said party and runs into spidey on the street. Before to long they run afoul of the roman god Saturn who’s angered by the fact the holiday period in which his annual celebration takes place has been taken over by Christmas. Spider-man and Deadpool convince him that the holidays are still about drinking and crazy parties. As the dust settles Spidey and Deadpool realise the year has brought them closer together, they exchange the exact same Christmas gifts as we close out the first year of Spider-man/Deadpool
You may not know Nick Giovannetti and Paul scheer as comic writers. You probably are familiar with their work outside of comics. Nick was the writer of many Grand Theft Auto games and Paul is a comedian/actor and host of the podcast “How did this get made”. That said the two have worked for Boom Studios on “Aliens vs Parker” as well as Marvel on Deadpool and Guardians Team Up. Paul himself is actually also an in-universe Marvel character that recently dated Scott Lang’s Ex wife in Nick Spencer’s Ant Man title.
Now this book by now is no Stranger to the celebrity guest author. It has also had mixed results with them. So much so that even though I am a fan of Paul’s I went in with low expectations. I am happy to report that Paul and Nick delivered an extremely funny book (possibly the funniest of the last year). Sadly however they lost me a little on the characters themselves
Now to be fair this is a comedy book and I have gone into great detail already about how these are hard to review and in some ways they shouldn’t be. But as a part of a larger story I do still need to look at them in similar merits. Normally I would let “out of character” moments pass for the sake of comedy in a comedy book. (I.e. having spider-man sulk around about Deadpool not inviting him to the party). By the end of this issue however we get a really powerful moment of the two finally admitting they are friends. This feels like a climax of point of 12 issues of building these two’s relationship. I am happy to finally get this moment as it feels earned at this point in the story. I am sad however that it didn’t come in the main Joe Kelly arc but that’s my own personal bias. Having it happen in a comedy issue however is tough because so much of this issue is good for a light read but continuity wise you want to sweep it under the rug. I always say with these issues you can take or leave it but this one is hard, as I want to take stuff and leave others. If this issue is to be taken ‘seriously’ than it is guilty of performing the mortal sin for in-continuity Deadpool books. (Future Deadpool writers take note). Don’t make the other marvel characters jokey. Cap fawning over a vacuum cleaner takes away from moments like Deadpool taking his gift to Hawkeye too far and leading to him being asked to leave. Though both are funny you have undercut your own story for extra those laughs.
That said the book is genuinely funny. My favorite joke is Saturn setting fire to a horse and cart and Deadpool pondering if it’s a 19th century ghost rider. Also a great nod to the Film “The Four rooms” which stole from the Hitchcock TV show in the casino scene.
I was also sad to see a lack of Spider-man relevance to the story minus the end scene. We do get to see him get drunk on Deadpool energy drinks (Which side note: we actually had in Australia, Deadpool energy drinks, I got sent a case to promote and never did as they were horrible and died a quick death on the supermarket shelf. So bad it probably would make you act weird like spidey). In his Sugar high state Spidey keeps calling things “Amazing”. So now every time you read the title “Amazing Spider-man” you will read it in Peters drunken voice.
Nick and Paul do have something most Celebrity writers don’t have however and that’s a good knowledge of modern marvel continuity. There is Civil War 2 references, Superior Foes references and even reference to Spidey being in Mark Waid’s current Avengers that just launched. Plus they get in some good references to the new to marvel books; like the movie vision’s sweater.
Todd Nauck is probably most familiar to modern spidey readers as the guy who worked with Peter David on the later half of Friendly Neighborhood during the back in black time. He is a comic book veteran of over 20 years and that experience shows in his impressive work here. None of this issue feels outdated and he has tremendous story telling. My only issue is that the characters talk so much a lot of his superb artwork is covered up by word balloons. I’d also draw your attention to the Dave Johnson cover. The guy is a master of cover work and seeing him do a Deadpool cover is like coming home again.
All in All
I probably complained here more on this issue than I praised. The truth is however the things it gets right are great (humor /art) and the things it gets wrong aren’t the worst examples in comics by any means (characterization moments). So if you are after a fun comedy filled Christmas special than it’s a high recommend. If you want more of the Spider-man / Deadpool story arc just skip to the last three pages.