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The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #22

by  in Comic News Comment
The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #22

The countdown continues with 2002’s s “T’was the Fight Before Xmas” from 2002’s Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #21, an extra-sized one-shot issue by writer/inker Darwyn Cooke and penciler J. Bone.

Like their previous excellent contribution to Tangled Web for Valentine’s Day (a story that I spotlighted here), this issue by Cooke and Bone (reversing their art duties from the previous issue, with Cooke now inking Bone after Bone inked Cooke the first time around) opens with a storybook style narrative…

The basic concept then is that Peter has to go to a crowded mall on Christmas Eve to buy a present for J. Jonah Jameson’s wife while Jameson and Betty Brant watch a group of stranded kids back at the Daily Bugle’s Christmas Party. Meanwhile, at that same point in time, Crystal, Wasp and Invisible Woman are also shopping (while also looking for Crystal’s missing Inhuman cousin, Medusa)…

Flash Thompson is at the same mall dressed up as Spider-Man as part of a toy story advertising Spider-Man action figures.

Well, it turns out that some bad guy has brainwashed Medusa and let her loose on the mall, as well as controlling Flash to help rob the mall…

The heroes in the mall all try to fight Medusa and Spider-Man and the news of the robbery sends the rest of the Fantastic Four to the mall, as well. Plus, of course, when J. Jonah Jameson finds out that Spider-Man is involved in such a negative fashion, he insists on proving to the stranded children that their hero, Spider-Man, is a no good fink…

The whole thing naturally combines into quite an over-the-top romp drawn beautifully by Bone. In the end, the mall’s Santa Claus turns out to be…

And with the day saved (and Spider-Man’s name cleared), we get one final storybook page…

Such a sweet comic book. It is a fine story, especially the way that Cooke tried to work with then-modern Marvel continuity (this was during that weird “Mary Jane is living in California, but they’re still married!” period) while still trying to make the story seem like it could have happened during the Silver Age. And you can’t get a much better art team than J. Bone and Darwyn Cooke!

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