Review: Brought to you by Bill Corbett of RiffTrax and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame comes a unique take on Christmas, no longer is he Santa Claus but the Red Avenger! No longer is he Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but Rudy the humanoid Caribou! No longer is he Frosty the Snowman, but Frostina the Snow Goddess!
In another time, in another place, in a world without a concept of Christmas and holiday cheer, the Red Avenger ascends from the heavens to do battle with the mighty H.E.R.O.D. Organization. Along the way he meets other super-powered beings just like him and together they must get over their differences and learn to work together. The inner workings of the story are cliché, but the outcome is not so easily known as the story is told through the eyes of the comic writer who created this tale and his artist who has a sort of different take on the matter.
What I enjoyed about this OGN is the way it was told. There’s so many characters in this story and everyone gets a “moment” that really makes you feel for them. Whether they’re the listeners to this tale of Christmas revenge, or the fictional characters themselves. There’s a very clear difference between which story is being told as well, “real life” is in black and white and the comic is told in full color.
I love Peralta’s art style and also his design for every character involved. Everything is very cartoonish, but also very kinetic with panels flowing one after the other in seamless transition. The only character who got the short end of the stick as far as design goes is Frostina. And I’m talking about her scantily clad outfit, no they cover that in detail in the story itself, it’s her face. Which always looks like it it’s trying to fall off. For what is supposed to be an incredibly attractive character she ends up becoming a butter-face quite unfortunately.
Corbett has a great handle on his characters, and his story beats chime together in simple strides. His takes on Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, there’s even the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge – hell, Professor X gets in the mix as well! His takes on these characters feels very original and also work well as double entendres for other well known pop culture icons. Not only does Santa work for Santa Claus, but Corbett’s unique take puts him perfectly in line to be another spoof on Superman as well.
I can also forgive the cheesiness of the Red Avenger storyline as it is a comic within a comic and the crux of the story isn’t actually about the Red Avenger’s story, but the real struggling relationship issues between our harrowing writer/artist duo. By the end the Red Avenger tale becomes more of a long-form allegory for their relationship.
It’s a wonderful reveal, and one that has plenty of well-placed hints sprinkled throughout. Of course it’s also not hard to see coming either if you’ve read enough stories in general in your life, but even if you see it coming the reveal isn’t an unwelcome one. My only critique when it comes to finding out that the writer and artist are both married is the writer, in his bid to be taken back into his wife’s loving arm’s, he makes another bet with her that if he does a myriad of tasks – which he does all of us – he bets her that even if he does all that she still won’t spend Christmas with him.
Typically that’s a bet you want to lose, but even after doing all of his listed tasks she tells him flat out he “won” that bet. Generally meaning that she’s not taking him back. But oddly in this situation apparently winning said bet actually means she IS taking him back and then the two stroll off happily ever after. It’s a little moment that kind of ruins the joy of the occasion because it makes no gosh-darned sense and goes against all forms of logic that this comic spent so much time building up. I dunno, it just really bothered me.
There is also a lot of mild crude humor in this comic. Nothing too disastrous or off putting, mostly dick jokes strung throughout the story. These jokes mostly take place within the Red Avenger’s storyline, and they’re there to showcase the “edginess” this writer is well-known for. This in my opinion is a good way to crude humor, giving a place and reason within a story. Especially if your story isn’t all about crude humor but you’re trying to find a place that makes sense for it.
Super-Powered Revenge Christmas is a great tale to read over the holiday season, though it isn’t perfect, is has good humor and wonderful characters. Great art and great pacing. There’s several pop culture references strung throughout, most of the characters themselves being blatant pop culture references and not just well-known Christmas icons. It has a unique tale it spins and does wonders twisting and winding its A and B-Stories together. I loved the action just as well.
I highly suggest checking this story out. Corbett and Peralta have a strong piece of fiction here, and what is a better Christmas gift for us comic readers than a strong piece of fiction that we can be happy to have read when we’re finished? Tis the season, folks! A season of Super-Powered Revenge Christmas!
Final Score: 4 Festive Catchphrases out of 5
Merry Christmas, everyone!
And Happy Holidays!
Editor’s Note: Head here to find out how you can grab yourself a copy!
Super-Powered Revenge Christmas – OGN
Published through Kickstarter
Written by: Bill Corbett
Illustrated by: Len Peralta
Reviewed by: Derrick Crow
Summary: It’s Christmas Eve, and all through the town, not a creature was stirring but a down on his luck comic writer who’s been rejected by yet another comic company. Finding his way into a bar, the writer finds his audience in which to lament about his tragedies. When his artist shows up, the two bicker about who’s ending was better for their story that had been rejected – having had a public dispute over it in the submissions meeting – and offer a bet unto their spectators: whomever’s ending is better, the loser shall pick up their bar tabs. And so these two weave their tale for Christmas, a story of despair, of cheer, of super-heroism and ultimate evil. This is the story of the Red Avenger….