Ant-Man's Big Christmas
Bob Gale, Phil Winslade
(Marvel, 2000)

If Charles Dickens had been a scripter for Marvel Comics, he might have written something like this.

Henry "Antman" Pym is so wrapped up in his scientific undertakings that he fails to notice the holiday preparations of his fellow Avengers, or even the presence of his wife, Janet "The Wasp" Van Dyne, in scanty lingerie. Since neither hero is willing to spend Christmas with their in-laws, Jan decides to accept an invitation to spend the holiday with one of their fans -- a 12-year-old Pennsylvania boy whose relatives always ruin Christmas for him and his parents.

Once there, the hidden heroes use Pym's patented "shrinking gas" to give a dose of their own medicine to Larry's cigar-smoking Great-Aunt Sadie, perverted Uncle Elmer, arrogant Uncle Harley and obnoxious cousins Ned, Ted and Martha. OK, each of the relatives is an extreme caricature, and their rude awakenings at Larry's hand are perhaps a bit much for a day of alleged Yuletide joy, but hey, it's funny stuff.

Better yet are the details -- Pym's fumbling attempts to convince Larry's mother that he's not a telephone pervert, the shrunken heroes' adventures on the dinner table, the gate-crashing existential studies group, even the Avengers' two-page holiday festivities. There are no great moral lessons here, and the various solutions used to transform an extended family of holiday Scrooges are no match for Dickens' time-warping ghosts, but it's a witty and clever seasonal romp nonetheless.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

Buy it from