Christmas arrived early this year with the release of X-Maschina, a new comic by writer Steve Urena, this time with co-writer Misty Graves and artist Lane Lloyd joining the factory. From killer sloths to enamored zombies, the story now embraces the deadly cold of the north pole, featuring Santa himself as the protagonist. But in X-Maschina, deadly is the keyword, as it takes place two decades from now, snow has disappeared, and in its place, decay and hopelessness have taken hold. Santa, now a divorced cocaine addict, partnered with Rio, a corporation as evil as any other, trying to gain control of Christmas until the plan backfires.
First off, I want to praise the team. Having read and enjoyed Steve Urena’s first two comics (Slow Poke and Zombie Date Night), it’s palpable just how well the team compliments each other. The writers’ duo of Urena and Graves knocks it out of the park, with a distinct feeling added that makes this story feel different and fresh from the other two aforementioned comics, which I can only attribute to the new vision from Misty and Steve’s evolution as a writer. Lane Lloyd’s art is the icing on the cake, their angular, zany, and exaggerated style perfectly fitting with the writing and story’s tone, giving the feel of an ancient scroll made by someone on acid.
The one thing I can complain about is that I just want more. Going through this story, I felt like it could’ve easily been stretched out to at least three issues and I would’ve kept reading, with ample space to breathe and develop some corners. That isn’t a complaint about the writing, which manages to present, expand and end this story in what ends up being an especially fun and unique ride, but a statement of what I feel this team could accomplish with even more time.
As it stands now, X-Maschina is a type of Christmas story I love to see. It’s crazy, over-the-top, and fun. The setting is interesting, the secondary cast of characters is as enjoyable to read as the main ones, and it all comes together as a neatly wrapped up Christmas gift, the type that you expect and still love getting. I cannot wait to see what everyone involved in this does next.