Christmas is a time for bringing people together and the X-Men are one of the biggest families in the Marvel Universe. Each member looks out for the other, an attitude that perfectly sums up the festive season. The Merry X-Men Holiday Special features an advent calendar themed collection of stories about the mutant community. A story is told for every day of December, with writers like Cullen Bunn, Chris Claremont and Ed Brisson getting to flex their creative muscles. Find out how Gambit and Rogue spend their first Christmas together as a married couple and why Jubilee is determined to find the perfect gift for her son.
The first thing that stood out to me about the collection was the advent calendar format. Each story is featured on a single page and corresponds with a day in December. I thought it was a brilliant storytelling device. Every story is packed with detail, reading like a piece of flash fiction.
A great example is an Old Man Logan tale written by Chris Zdarsky for the 14th of December. In ‘The Gift That Keeps On Giving’ Old Man Logan is chopping wood in the forest and is visited by Nightcrawler. Kurt reminds Logan that Christmas is a time for remembering important events. Nightcrawler does this by giving Logan a framed picture of himself. It’s a direct reference to a moment in X-Men: King Size Annual Vol 1 #4 when Wolverine gave Kurt a picture of himself. That moment is captured in the story as well, highlighting a tremendous amount of detail.
The Merry X-Men Holiday Special is full of emotional tales that celebrate the season. Some of my favourites included Magneto remembering the importance of Hanukkah in Warsaw and Jamie Madrox buying the same gift for every member of the X-Men. Another great story involved Storm teaching an anti-mutant radical a lesson in manners.
The collection is linked together by an ongoing story that featured Jubilee. Wanting to get her son, Shogo, a memorable present, Jubilee entered Arcade’s Christmas ‘Murdermall’ to find the best deal. Arcade designed the Murdermall as a way to combine the madness of Black Friday with the excitement of an escape room. I thought it was a hilarious commentary on how competitive some shoppers get during the holidays.
The Merry X-Men Holiday Special is a celebration of the X-Men and Christmas. Every writer brings their a-game, every artist creates stunning panels. There are stories that will make you laugh and there are stories that will tug on your heartstrings. You’re guaranteed to find at least one tale that will get you in the mood for Christmas.