I fear I’ve got a bunch of one-shots and annuals starting to pile up again. Last time, I did an entire week of reviews and I might have to do the same thing again, but I’m going to put in this one, just because the longer I wait, the farther it gets from the holidays. This is a bunch of semi-related short stories, wrapped in a She-Hulk tale. So here’s my look at the Gwenpool Holiday Special.
Now you can’t take much here too seriously, it’s a bunch of loosely connected stories that starts off with She-Hulk’s building Christmas shindig, but if she can’t keep the party going all night, the building is going to be sold to aliens who are going to kick everyone out into the street. Then you get Ms. Marvel playing the Grinch as she grumps about having no Muslim holiday to call her own and gets to beat up on Santa Claus and his reindeer. After that, Deadpool and Hawkeye hunt down a serial pickpocket with a heart of gold, trying to steal money to buy his kid a present. Finally, Gwenpool goes up against a Disney-esque villain on Christmas Eve, ending in an invitation to the big party.
Okay, I know I said this when I reviewed She-Hulk, but the art style here really, really sucks. I’m sorry, it just does. Langdon Foss might be able to compose some interesting layouts, but he can’t draw characters to save his life. Because this is the largest story in the book, it really detracts from the overall quality. Writing is good, idea is interesting, art… not so much, sorry.
That’s not the case when it comes to the other stories though, especially the Gwenpool tale, which has art in a manga-reminiscent style done by Gurihiru, an art team that has previously worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender comics. The art on the other stories falls somewhere in the middle.
Overall, this isn’t anything fantastic but it certainly isn’t terrible. I do have a problem calling it the Gwenpool Holiday Special because she only appears in a short story at the end, plus a couple of pages of party. Other characters, most notably She-Hulk, are featured throughout and would probably have made a better title character. But in the end, this really is a pretty throwaway book and at the price, nearly $6, I really can’t recommend it for what you get. Sorry, bad art, mediocre stories and misplaced titles really don’t deserve high prices.