Ant Man’s Big Christmas

July 5th, 2008 by

Ant Man's Big Christmas

Last weekend I was at Wizard World in Chicago and was going through the $0.25 comics bins (if you shop at a convention, wait until the last day – everything’s cheaper) and found this little gem from 1999. Just the cover alone was worth the quarter. While I’m a big fan of Henry Pym and have great affection for both him and the Wasp, he may be the lamest comic book hero Marvel has; you can’t help but not take him seriously. He’s the Aquaman of the Marvel Universe. So a Christmas book starring him and the winsome Wasp seemed funny. I was sure, however, that inside would be full of heart warming Christmas cheer as they taught lessons of peace, love, and good will toward ants. I was completely surprised by what I found.

Forget about any sappy Christmas stories we’ve come to expect with our usual holiday fare. Hank and Jan have possibly the most unhealthy relationship in comics, and while this story takes full advantage of this fact, there’s none of the melodrama that’s usually associated with these two. This comic brings the fun to dysfunctional. It starts out with the two arguing about who’s family to spend Christmas with, as they both despise the other’s families for petty reasons. Captain America intervenes like the Ghost of Christmas Responsibility, affixes them with disappointing stare #16, and sends them on a mission to bring Christmas cheer to a lonely boy who’s family can’t get along. It’s the Make A Wish program for kids who don’t need it. They discover that the kid is a spoiled brat who simply can’t put up with his families eccentricities. You can smell the sap coming a mile away with a complete set up for the two Avenging lovers to teach the kid about the importance of family during the holidays while learning the lesson themselves. Mercifully, there’s none of that. Instead, the two agree to teach the kid’s family a lesson by shrinking them down to ant size by surprise and torturing them into agreeing to never come back for Christmas again. And some of the tortures they come up with are quite inspired. The great aunt’s fussiness and habit of smoking a cigar and wearing too much perfume is combated by trapping her in a canister with a rotten orange, a fish’s head, and dog shit. The uncle with a fetish for the kid’s mom’s underwear is shrunk down, taped to the inside of a bra, and flung across the room. The cousin who brings unwanted guests and the uncle who’s only sin is telling tall tales about himself are trapped at ant size with a box full of beetles. And the cousins that bully the kid are set up for potentially permanent injury when a load of automobile tires are set up to fall on them, then they’re tied up, their crotches doused with sugar water, and ants are sent to swarm them and bite them. All while the kid video tapes the incident. Throughout all this, Ant Man and the Wasp are gleefully taking part and helping along, showing little responsibilities as adults. And these are supposed to be the good guys? I think that they use some of these methods in Guantanamo Bay. Hey, heroes, guess what – this is how Dr. Octopus and Mr. Sinister spend Christmas as well. Captain America would have to give you at least TWO disappointing stares if he knew about this.

Along the way, Ant Man is accused of being a pedophile, they nearly get eaten at ant size when trying to steal some of a families dinner, and there’s background talk about suicide. All your typical holiday cheer. If I paid the full $5.95 cover price for this, I’d be pretty pissed as the story really is pretty lame and silly, but for a quarter, it’s a fabulously ridiculous story that throws the Christmas genre out the window and stomps it into the dirty snow. It’s a great read.

2 Responses to “Ant Man’s Big Christmas”

  1. Martin Says:

    Wow, this sounds AWESOME. Florence thinks this should be made into a TV movie. I’ve had two xmas comics sitting on my shelf to read since Susie gave them to me, and now I have to read them to compare.

  2. Chad Says:

    Mike your review hilarious. This is the funniest review I have ever read.