[Warning: Contains SPOILERS for "Spider-Man/Deadpool" #12.]
Each December brings with it extra helpings of good tidings and cheer. This time of year also bring with it everyone’s favorite non-canon seasonal bonus, comic book holiday specials. This year, the Krampus came a little late, delivering a stocking-full of "Spider-Man/Deadpool" #12 and featuring the return of a not-so-jolly white-bearded man and his dearth of goodwill. Marvel fans were also treated to another round of that dysfunctional duo and their decades of frenemy status, making for some of the best superhero smack-talk on the planet.
With Deadpool and Spider-Man on fourth-wall breaking duty, of course, no one is safe. Their unique brand of season's greetings offers a sleigh-load of hilarious holiday trope take-downs, as well as some good-natured pop-cultural icon-ribbing. As in past issues, Spider-Man/Deadpool writers (this time around, Nick Giovannetti and Paul Scheer) pull no punches, throwing some holiday shade at the DC Extended Universe, and Zack Snyder in particular.
A Not So Jolly or Fat Saint Nick
The holiday special kicks off with a familiar sight, as a hapless, Santa suit-wearing bell-ringer collects money in front of a store. Rather than a handful of change, though, he becomes a victim of circumstance when a beefed-up man with a white beard and red cloak confronts the charity worker. Unfortunately, the faux-Santa loses his head for his nonchalant celebration of the wrong holiday – all while Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” bumps out on a boombox in the background.
As it turns out, the Claus-like figure is actually Saturn, and the Roman deity is rather pissed off at the watering down and bastardizing of his rambunctious Saturnalia – historically a celebration of the Roman god of agriculture and Titan which involved days of hedonistic practices like gambling, sexting, drinking, animal sacrifices, and of course, colorful togas. When Deadpool, who gets kicked out of his own holiday party due to his tasteless present to (the wrong) Hawkeye – a t-shirt which reads “I killed Bruce Banner and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” – he bumps into a lonesome Spider-Man. As they walk the city, they stumble across the mounting carnage from the disgruntled deity.
Saturn (and Zack Snyder) Get Zinged
Cutting a swath of murder and destruction throughout New York City, Saturn takes out revelers at the SantaCon in addition to general seasonal celebrants. The Web-Head and Wade decide to put a stop to this menace, and confront the raging religious remnant, which naturally allows for some choice repartee, with Deadpool quipping “it’s like Santa stopped eating cookies and started doing crossfit.” Spidey then retorts, saying: “he looks like Zack Snyder made a movie about Santa, but instead of delivering presents, he works out and murders.”
While the jab may raise a few DCEU fans’ eyebrows, the comment itself acts as passing shot at the overly serious tone of the DC tentpole Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as its violent outcome – something which Marvel’s own films have been taken to task for in past. In the long run, the ribbing is just another example of Marvel and DC poking good-natured fun at one another, one which should also remind fans of both universes not to take partisan life too seriously. To be fair, though, as Deadpool, Spider-Man, and Saturn resolve their differences, no one, from DC to Marvel to Kanye West to classic Ghostbusters, is safe from the writers' barbs.
Deadpool and Saturn Take Back the Holidays
Once Saturn blows up all Mr. Stay Puft style, the wall-breaking wonders realize they need another tactic to subdue the rampaging Titan. Deadpool’s suggestion about getting him laid (a la Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters) gets shot down. Spider-Man's even more eye-rolling idea, about showing Saturn the true spirit of Christmas, seems to be the only option left. However, this holiday vision-quest comes with a very Deadpool twist.
The Merc with a mirth makes a wager with the Roman god: If Wade can prove that the contemporary holiday is just as exciting and uninhibited as his traditional celebration, Saturn will revive all those he’s killed and cease his carnage. If not... well, let’s just say our heroes had better not fail. So while Peter geeks out on some of Deadpool’s energy drink “Pool Fuel,” Saturn and Wade paint the town a different color of red, ice skating, dancing with the Rockettes, and gambling to the Titan’s fill.
Deadpool and Spidey's holidays end on a sweet note, though, as Saturn puts right his devastation and heads off into the night on his dragon-drawn, baby-driven chariot. Afterwards, Peter and Wade exchange hideous Christmas sweaters and semi-sweet morsels of sentiment, before busting up the illegal gambling bodega where Saturn lost a finger.
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All in all, Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 proves that the holidays are always better with a few friends around, no matter what harmless activities you get up to. Also, while not-in-canon, Steve Rogers seems to have a weird obsession with vacuum cleaners. Hopefully, his quirk will end after Miles Morales takes home the cleaning tool Cap gave him, although his interest in the attachments is a little perturbing. And on that note, Happy belated holidays!
Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 is currently available online and in print.