REVIEW: RED XMAS
Rating if the Book Were a Movie: R/NC-17
- Writer: Clay Adams and Alexandre O. Philippe
- Artist: Fabio Ramacci
- Colors: Ilaria Chiocca
- Letters: Frieda
- Cover: Fabio Ramacci and Ilaria Chiocca
- Production: Marcus Guillory
- Publisher: Scout Comics
- Story: 3.3 Stars
- Artwork: 3.9 Stars
- Cover Artwork: 4.1 Stars
- Dialogue: 3.4 Stars
- Mechanics: 3.6 Stars
- Editing: 3.6 Stars
About the Book:
Santa, as we all know, is immortal. After years of delivering more and more toys to children that have become less grateful for what they have, he wants to retire. His sole source of happiness is his wife, Glenn. She loves the children and the happiness her husband brings them. She is mortal though.
When Mrs. Claus is killed in an accident while helping load the sleigh, Santa goes into a daze. The elves respond with an emergency protocol (which consists of getting Santa high and drunk) and remind him Glenn would have wanted him to deliver the toys. That brings back Santa’s clarity. By his inebriated logic Mrs. Claus would still be alive if not for the children he has come to despise.
Trying to honor Glenn’s memory, Santa takes off in his sleigh. The first stop is Christmas, Vermont. Santa doesn’t have enough Christmas magic to go into a house through the chimney. Busting through the front window seems to be a pleasant alternative. He’s drunk and immortal so he doesn’t care.
The residents of this home are Byron Tewksberry and his mother, Ellie. Ellie is an F.B.I. agent with a hair trigger. She comes out shooting and causes Santa to bolt…. Right in front of a truck. To prove that there are no reindeer on the roof Ellie fires shots into the ceiling, killing Rudolph and causing the team to return to the North Pole. Now Santa is stranded, pissed, and ready to take it out on anyone who gets in his way.
Red Xmas was originally published in 2021. It didn’t make it onto my radar until I saw it on the shelves at my local comic book store last month. I was looking for Christmas themed stories to write about. This TPB was there. It was serendipitous.
The plot of Red Xmas takes some time to fully develop. While getting to that point there are jokes and panels that keep the reader entertained. I liked the explanation of how Santa’s magic makes parents believe that THEY bought the children’s presents.
I also liked one of the underlying themes of Red Xmas. That is that during the holidays a lot of people are dealing with a lot of emotions. As we see in the story, some people have healthier methods of dealing with these emotions than others.
It was fun seeing some of the other holiday characters we’ve become fond of over the years in a different light. Peter Cottontail’s mansion was hilarious. Patrick’s appearance was short; but he stole the show in his panels.
I doubt I can say enough good things about the artwork for Red Xmas. Between Ramacci’s lines and Chiocca’s colors this story truly feels like it comes to life. I loved how the jolly-meter resembled a gigawatt reactor.
The cover demands that you take notice of it. It’s different from anything I have seen in the Christmas genre. Santa looks dangerous and powerful. I like it.
Buyer beware. This is NOT a children’s book. There is a lot of language and some adult situations that can not be unseen…. So I immediately shared those panels with my dear friends, Cupcake, Lug Nut, and True Neutral.
For the grownups that want a Christmas story that’s a bit more risqué than a little boy wanting a BB gun for Christmas look no further. This geek on a budget guarantees you’ll be saying, “Ho, Ho, Ho my God!”