Advance Review: Malice And Mistletoe Is Your Holiday Action Movie Comic


Bam Smack Pow has been following the creation of this independent comic book, beginning with the early days of its Kickstarter campaign, following up once the goals had been met. Now that the book is complete, its creators have sent an advance copy for our review.

The story of Malice And Mistletoe follows assassin Eldon Carrillo, a man hired by powerful businessman Claus to take out his rival, Krampus, after a Thanksgiving Day massacre of many of Claus’s partners. This pulls Eldon into a world of elves and explosions and murders, just in time for Christmas.

Writer Nathan Graham Davis has a background in filmmaking, and this is evident in the action-movie pacing of the graphic novel. Scenes are efficient and spin out of several creative plot twists. The violence is shocking, with sudden attacks or characters being found in bloody rooms, but it’s never too gory to keep reading. Character motivations evolve over the course of the book, with Eldon taking a hard look at his employer and at his own commitment to his rules, similar to the Transporter film series. Holiday tropes are bent with the action-movie humor, such as Santa Claus using hallucinogens to find out what people really want for Christmas or a magical relic called Rudov that can freeze time and allow for overnight global travel.

Jack Purcell’s visuals for the book are clever, with a largely black-and-white book punctuated by Davin Pasek’s shading of bright red and green when appropriate. Characters look distinct, and the world of Krampus’s Antarctic base is fully realized. Unfortunately, the visual representation of the elves’ travel through frozen time is a blurry, black-white inverted page that is difficult to read and grates after a few pages.

The action take on Christmas is hot right now, with Morrison’s Klaus on the stands and the Krampus movie set to pull a little horror mayhem out of the season. Malice And Mistletoe is a great little done-in-one that brings a cinematic aesthetic to the page and should make a fine holiday gift for the charming misanthrope on your gift list. Interested readers can check out the Amazon page, where this book will be available digitally November 27 and in printed copy soon after.

More from Bam Smack Pow

What’s your favorite holiday comic? Comment below!