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‘The 512th Day of Christmas:’ Comic Book Review

Naughty or nice, everyone bows to the Big Guy.

What if it was Christmas all year long?  (I had a roommate once that would have loved it; he played Christmas music in June.  There’s gotta be a special place in hell for that, right?)  What if your fridge was magically filled with Christmas dinner leftovers every day with no need to buy food?  Sure, you’ll get tired of eating the same old thing, but you get to spend time at home with family and every day you get toys, as long as you stay on the Nice list.  For little Ginette Firestrom, being “good” seems like a bust, as she can’t control what comes out of her mouth around the usually present cigarette.  Selected by a group of elves, she’s about to find out what being on the Naughty list is really all about.

The first page of this book contains a forward, and while it sets up the impetus behind the world of the story we’re about to experience, the last few thoughts seem a little more visceral than the rest, and it felt out of sync with how the book plays out.  It’s nothing that would turn me off from the material, but it certainly took me aback, and, honestly, that may have been the point.  I enjoy how Jack Wallace sets up his world, and Santa’s takeover – though complete – isn’t really all that bad from my perspective (minus the insanely awful thrashing of another beloved holiday mascot. Nice choice, Jack.); he removes weapons from all nations of the world, feeds everyone and – minus the Hallmark channel on 24/7 – as long as you’re on the Nice list, you’re pretty well set.  I don’t think there’s enough time dedicated to character development, but the world building is solid and for the most part very well thought out.  Though it falls into some tropes at times, there’s a nice originality to the storytelling (It’s surprising how much evil Santa work there is out there.) that makes the tale shine apart from the rest.

Reinaldo Lay and Chris Allen team up to put some sugar plums on this fariy tale (For this, I’ll allow you to throw things at me.), and they work very well together.  There’s a delicate balance that they strike between the saccharine holiday boldness and the harsh realities of their Kringle-gone-bad.  It’s a fun dichotomy that they use to great effect, time and again, and I don’t quite know what it is about Santa getting a back rub that’s so damn slimy, but it works.  I feel like it’s the art that gives us the most insight into the characters, and the compositions are consistently interesting, never falling into dull, repetitive patterns.

There’s a logistical nightmare that the finale opens up in this story, and, honestly, I’d be very interested in seeing that world brought further to life by this team.  An exploration of some severe unintended consequences would make an awesome follow up to a solid and fun story like this.  If you’re looking for a one-shot a little different than your typical holiday fair, then you’d likely enjoy this one.

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