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The Last Christmas (Image Comics)

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lastxmasheaderOnly jolly ol' St. Nick can save the world from the hordes of the undead in this twisted holiday tale from comedian Brian Posehn (Mr. Show, Just Shoot Me) and friends. If you're still searching for that last minute Christmas gift for the zombie lover on your list, look no further.

 

 

136pgs FC, $14.99

(W: Gerry Duggan & Brian Posehn; P: Rick Remender; I: Hilary Barta; C: Michelle Marsen)

 

After a deadly world war decimates the human population, mutated zombies and shady highwaymen known as "marauders" terrorize the few survivors on the globe. Only one little boy still writes to Santa, who has become a shadow of his former self after the unexpected murder of Ms. Claus. But can Santa pull it together to save his one remaining fan from an attack of the undead?

 

The cover to The Last Christmas. Click thumbnail for a larger image.If you're still searching for that last minute Christmas gift for the zombie lover on your list, look no further. The Last Christmas combines the campy over-the-topness of your favorite midnight show zombie flick with the cheery holiday warmth of a Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas classic. The book collects the 5-issue Image mini-series that finished up in November, just in time for the winter holidays.

 

Gerry Duggan and comedian Brian Posehn (Mr. Show, Just Shoot Me) continue the gory tradition of books like Robert Kirkman's Battle Pope, with tasteless humor and graphic violence at every turn. Sometimes the humor might be a bit too tasteless, as in an eyebrow-raising reference to the Abu Ghraib prison controversy near the end of the story. But if you want to see Santa Claus as a boozehound and elves throwing ornament grenades, this is definitely the book for you.

 

There are a few problems with the book, most notably underdevelopment of the world in which the story takes place. Lack of explanation when it comes to the origin and motivations of the bad guys ends up creating plot holes. Also, the narration of the story by the North Pole's Gary the Snowman is more of an interruption than anything else, as he cuts in at the end of every chapter to summarize and speculate about the chapter to come. This worked better when there was a month or more in between issues, but when read in trade paperback format it becomes tiresome.

 

An interior page from The Last Christmas by Rick Remender and Hilary Barta. Click thumbnail for a larger image.The art is fairly straightforward and cartoonish, but suitably dark. There's no question looking at the book that it is meant for adults, even aside from all the gore. The artists seem to truly revel in the world of post-apocalyptic Christmas, and their enjoyment comes through to the reader.

 

The Last Christmas is a fun read for the holidays, especially if you're feeling a little put out by all of the peace on Earth and good will toward men. There's nothing like watching a reindeer fall victim to a rocket launcher to really put you in the Christmas spirit. Be prepared, though, for crass jokes, harsh language, and content generally not suited for the kids or those with delicate sensibilities.

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