Sunday, April 5, 2015

CBR GLX-Mas Special

Alright, so we might be far off next Christmas, but that's not a reason to pass on this fantastic Xmas Special featuring the GLA GLX-Men!

Tippy-Toe says: Read these reviews!

Comic title: GLX-Mas Special #1
Written by Dan Slott
Drawn by Paul Grist, Matt Haley, Georges Jeanty, Mike Kazaleh, Ty Templeton & Mike Wieringo

Published by Marvel Comics 
From 2006
Lineup GLA series/Squirrel Girl
Format: One-shot special issue.

Milwaukee's first superhero team is back!

The Great Lakes Avengers, or GLA for short, are a fun parody team of superheroes, originally created by John Byrne.

The GLA are a team of minor C-list superheroes mutants based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The team used to be composed of the appropriately-named Mr. Immortal aka Craig Hollis, a quiet Savage Land refuge Dinah Soar, the impressive Big Bertha aka supermodel Ashley Crawford, not-Mister Fantastic Flatman aka Dr. Val Ventura whom I'm not sure is even a real doctor, and the mysterious Doorman aka DeMarr Davis with the ability to simply make doors.

Soon another underrated Marvel heroine Squirrel Girl, aka Doreen Green, would join up the gang following the death of Dinah Soar. She talks to squirrels. Also, she eats nuts. Her pet squirrel and partner Tippy-Toe taking over narrating duties and breaking the fourth wall from time to time.

Following Dan Slott's 2005 epic mini-series Misassembled that brought them back to much success, the Great Lakes would pop up in all kinds of places the next decade. After fighting for a change of name in a poker tournament in Dan Slott's own The Thing mini-series, they would get to star in a few one-shots the following years with a GLX-Mas Special (in 2005), a contribution to I ♥ Marvel (in 2006) and even a fun crossover Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular (in 2007).

At the end of their mini-series, having found out all the surviving GLAs were all mutant they decide to change name. They would be the Great Lakes Avengers no more, instead they would rename themselves now the Great Lakes X-Men!

This GLX one-shot marks their first return appearance since that tale, and it's a X-Mas Special no less! Like Misassembled, Squirrel Girl opens the book acting as the hostess of this new adventure. It's a double-sized one-shot that tells 6 tales, six shorter features all revolving around the Xmas party back at the GLX HQs. With Dan Slott back at writing chores for the entire book.

First up is "Eggnog, Toilet Paper, and Peace on Earth", illustrated by Matt Haley. As the Xmas party is almost ready, SG runs to the store to pick up some eggnog... and on the day ends up fighting Modok (and a bunch of other big Marvel villains including Thanos himself! And yep, it's totally canon, suck it up fanboys!!) She takes Big Bertha's secret Santa present - the Squirrel-A-Gig chopper! SHIELD calls her in as backup (and asks for her to join them, but she declines the offer). Oh, and it's the first time we get to see her check on her Iron Man Vs. series battle cards to get some in-universe data on the Marvel characters. (She even got defense and stats on those! It sure can come in handy!) It's a really fun, really silly tale and the perfect opener for this kind of comic! The art is a bit sketchy and messy around the details, but it does the job.

Next up is the fantastic "Mr. Immortal in: Days of X-Mas Past", pencilled by Georges Jeanty. Mr. Immortal always gets kind of sad around Christmas. While the others are getting ready, Craig remembers his days with Dinah. How the two very different heroes came to get close to each other over the years. Also, we finally get the tale of their sole arch-enemy thus far - Dr. Tannenbaum (and his Xmas Robot!). A guy that wanted to ruin Christmas for everyone in Milwaukee. It's a sweet tale, with some hilarious moments (including Flatman walking on Craig and Dinah, errr, "finding each other". The art is nice too, with some fantastic panels like the one with Uatu the Watcher.

"Getting Off on the Right Foot" by the talented Ty Templeton sees the return of the hottest new star in the Marvel U., yet another Grasshopper... and is ultimately death. But the punchline only comes out a few tales later actually. Super-short but fun, and it doesn't take itself too seriously mocking classic superhero comics.

Perhaps the deepest and saddest tale in this entire issue, "Working Holiday", by the great Paul Grist. Demarr, aka Doorman as to go see his dad. But the thing is, he's now the living embodiment of Death! And that exactly means that - the time for his father to "go" has come. It's a very sweet and almost sad tale that has a sort of nostalgic tone. Very powerful and easily my favorite of this entire comic book.

"Squirrel on Squirrel Action" by Mike Kazaleh sees the return of the previous "angel of Death", Deathurge! Now trapped in the form of a squirrel! Since he failed to grab the soul of Squirrel Girl's previous pet squirrel Monkey Joe, he now has until Christmas to bring back Tippy-Toe! But instead it's Mr. Immortal that gets into the deadly schemes planned by squirrel!Deathurge. This one's drawn in a definitively more cartoony style, closer to a Tom & Jerry or Looney Tunes. Really fun!

Finally the whole gangs comes together in the last tale - "Seasons Greetings from the GLX" also illustrated by Ty Templeton! Merry Christmas everyone!

The GLX did survive the holidays this time!

Finally there's an hilarious bonus "for the kids at home", your very own "Flatman's Special Christmas Gift to You" (drawn by Mike Wieringo). An epic 2-D action figure of Flatman to complete your own Marvel Legends collection! That's right, it's just a page with a printed Flatman in correct scale, a cut-out to add a Flatman on a piece of paper as a joke with "infinite" points of articulation! It definitively ends this fantastic issue on an hilarious note!

Overall, it's an hilarious Christmas special, a fun parody of these sort of one-shot comics.

Definitively another classic GLA (or GLX-Men, or whatever they're calling themselves this week). Highly Recommended!

All the stories are pretty solid, and it definitively helps to still have Dan Slott on board. He set the tone for the team, but it's great to have him back and see him as much inspired the second time.

It could have done an easy job with more parodies and jokes, but instead those were kept to a minimum quantity to provide a good balance of character moments, various features and even some deeper sequences. Proving these character are not only great and work as a team but rich enough to offer both laughs and tears.

Also, I was totally sold on this Flatman action figure! With 3 lines of dialogues (you can say yourself out loud).

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Howards!

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