Welcome to another installment of Comic Book Storytelling. I hope everyone had a good holiday. In the spirit of the season this time we are going to look at some special issues that came out recently.
First we look at the Red Sonja Holiday Special. Yes Red Sonja had a holiday special this year. She had her own Halloween special so why not. The story starts with Sonja in her usual Hyborian Age setting where she meets a stranger on the road in need of help during a snowstorm. The meeting makes her nostalgic for her time in modern day New York City.
Okay at the start of the current Red Sonja series she was magically transported to New York City and was stranded in our time for quite awhile before returning to her own era. While she was in New York she became friends with a cop named Max. Max later turned out to be the son of sorcerers who was also magically sent to New York when he was a child so that’s how he could speak Hyborian languages.
Anyway the snowstorm and the person in need reminds Sonja of the time she learned about Christmas. The Hyborian Age is a pretty harsh world so all the holiday good will seems strange to Sonja. They end up getting mixed up in helping a man dressed as Santa Claus who is being chased by angry mobsters in suits. We don’t get much backstory but Sonja and Max save Christmas for this man and his corgi dressed as a reindeer. And they get to hang out at Santacon for a bit. So Sonja was inspired by the spirit of Christmas to help someone out in her own era one night. Also she spends the entire time walking around a New York winter in her signature chain mail bikini because… well I guess the usual explanation is that people of the Hyborian Age are just a lot more hardy than us.
The holiday special also has a reprint of a Red Sonja story from 1977 where she meets a talking goat and almost gets captured and sacrificed by a cult. That sort of thing happens to her all the time so she is not really put off by any of it.
There was also a Hellboy Winter Special this year. It has three stories but only the first one directly involves Hellboy.
In the first story Hellboy is attending a Christmas seance. Some rich people are trying to contact the spirit of an ancestor who was executed for devil worship. The seance is conducted by a spiritualist named Ava Galluci that Hellboy apparently met on another case and he is not happy to see her again. The seance goes ahead and it seems Galluci has a habit of using her spiritual gifts for her own gain. Hellboy has to fight a ghost and Galluci’s plan to acquire a frog demon imp to serve her backfires as she is turned into a frog and carried away. It was written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola himself and has all the elements of a good Hellboy story. I have not kept up with Hellboy the last few years but its nice to read what feels like a classic Hellboy tale again.
I’m not sure what to make the second story in the special. There is a guy named Simon Anders and some magic ladies that might be witches or fairy of some kind. There are elements of it that remind of folklore I have read but I am not sure what specific mythology this story ties into. At the end it seems Hellboy is looking for this Simon Anders character. I assume this ties into some other Hellboy story I am not familiar with.
The final story of this special is about Lobster Johnson, the mobster killing vigilante who operated during the 1930’s and 40’s. Hellboy teamed up with his ghost once. In this story some mobsters get the bright idea to kill their rivals and frame Lobster Johnson for the murders. It does not work out for them in the end. Lobster Johnson does not take kindly to being impersonated.
And finally we take a look at a Wedding Special that came out at the same time. The Fantastic Four Wedding Special is a bit of a prologue to the coming wedding issue where Ben Grimm and his longtime girlfriend Felicia Masters will finally get married.
It starts off with the story of Felicia’s bachelorette party. Felicia’s regular human artist friends take her out along with Sue Richards, She-Hulk, and the Inhumans Crystal and Medusa. Felicia is blind so she can’t always partake of usual party activities but she agrees to let her friends take her to a club with lots of male strippers. Then the party is crashed. At first it looks like the work of the Mole Man but then the culprit turns out to be… the Mole Woman? I did not know there was a Mole Woman. And she is trying to ruin the party because… she loves the Mole Man but he does not love her, I think? And then Mole Man shows up to stop her because he believes in love. Honestly I am not sure what to make of it all.
Then there is the story of Ben Grimm going to talk to Felicia’s dad to get his blessing. Now Felicia’s dad is the supervillain the Puppet Master who can control people with his radioactive clay puppets. So Ben has to go to the maximum security super prison where he is still serving his sentence. The Puppet Master is not a very imposing figure but his power makes him very dangerous. Ben asks for his blessing and things get tense for a moment but then Puppet Master gives his blessing and looks pretty pleased about it. Ben goes home to Felicia telling her how well it went but at the end we see her put away a Puppet Master shaped puppet. There is one other story at the end that is just a goofy few pages of the Puppet Master complaining about the wedding.
That is all for now. We will be back after New Years with more.