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Marvel Holiday Special 1993
"Holiday On Ice"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND

Sholly Fisch: Writer
Tom Morgan: Artist
Brad K. Joyce: Letterer
Ed Lazellari: Colorist

For many, the holidays are a time for celebration. For the friends of Tony Stark, this particular Christmas is a time to remember happier times, before he passed away. For Randy Macklin, it's a time to recall a Christmas past, not so long ago, and his search for a paying job...

After two months spent at the employment agency and being told to come back again and again -- he comes to the realization that no one wants to hire an ex-con! He had done time for the liquor store robbery, and it wasn't just him! It seems that everyone he has grown up with is doing time in prison. His childhood friends are in Seagate, Ryker's... and even The Vault! When his friend, Donny, was employed by Justin Hammer to become the new Blizzard, they had thought he had it made! At home, Randy sees that his mother is still out, and hasn't discovered that Donny had asked him to take care of his spare costume. He had tried going straight, but they wouldn't let him. Randy is determined to do a better job at being the Blizzard than Donny has. In order to prove this, he will first go after the one who sent Donny to prison-- Iron Man!

At Stark Enterprises, millionaire industrialist Tony Stark has already spotted his intended prey beneath the mistletoe, and prepares to make his move! He kisses Mrs. Arbogast and wishes her a Merry Christmas, while she points out that the 25th won't be for a few days, but Merry Christmas to him, too. Abe arrives to break up any further kissing, while Tony wishes him a happy Chanukah, and is complimented by his friend for remembering the potato latkes. It has been quite a year for Stark Enterprises, and thanks to the contracts they've acquired, the business is really getting off the ground! Smiling, the playboy turns and sees what he takes to be another good omen -- as it begins to snow in Los Angeles!

This is far from a White Christmas... as the Blizzard comes into view outside the window. Randy hopes that he has gotten the grasp of super-villain slang, and doesn't come off as an amateur. He begins to form an enormous ice-hammer, and prepares to bring down the hammer on Stark Enterprises! An strong, iron-gloved hand halts the ice-construct's descent, then casually flings it away!

Shell-Head can't imagine what the Blizzard would want with him, especially after the last time they fought. Randy tells the golden Avenger that he is now up against the new Blizzard! Iron Man wonders if this particular super-villain is being mass-produced, while noticing that his armor's stabilizers are coping with the turbulent ice storm, but he can barely peer through his helmet! Fortunately for Shell-Head, his armor is capable of operating under low visibility conditions, and he soon spots the new would-be super-villain. The snowstorm turns out to be just cover, as the Blizzard fires off a cold-blast set at absolute zero!

The golden Avenger finds that his armored joints are freezing up... and it's becoming hard to think... while Randy laughs at the sight of the seemingly-defeated Iron Man! Acting quickly... Shell-Head activates his boot-jets... KRAKK...and begins to soar into the sky...FWHOOOOOOSSSSHHH! He is now prepared for the next step, and even with his armor, it's gonna hurt...

KREKKKSSSSHH The hard landing shatters the surrounding ice, and while he recovers, the Blizzard moves in on what he sees to be a dazed and helpless foe! Iron Man is far from helpless, especially with all the snow and ice to reflect his chest beam! Randy is blinded by the light, and Shell-Head tears off the costume's power pack... RRRIPP An iron-gloved fist meets a glassy-iced jaw... THWOK In his defeat, Randy Macklin wonders how he ever thought he could do this. He couldn't go straight, and he couldn't even find a job! He can't do anything...

Hearing this, the golden Avenger asks him if he tried applying at Stark Enterprises... Randy is stunned at Shell-Head's suggestion that he would help a guy he had just fought! He is told that if this is a scam, Iron Man will be on top of him... but if he's sincere... 'tis the season. He has had some good luck giving folks a second chance. There was this one super-villain he used to battle in the past. Maybe Randy had heard of him... He's known as Hawkeye...

Among the books that Sholly Fisch has written, I fondly remember his stories in Marvel's What The?! series.

Artist Tom Morgan has drawn stories for Captain America, The Avengers, and Iron Man in the '90s.

This Christmas story took place during the time that Tony Stark had "died" and James Rhodes took over Stark Enterprises as Iron Man.

Both Donny and Randy were fortunate in comparison to Gregor Shapanka, the original Blizzard. He had begun his career as the criminal, Jack Frost, in Tales of Suspense #45.

In Iron Man #86, Shapanka adopted the new identity of the Blizzard.

In 1980, Shapanka found that he had developed the ability to generate cold without a costume. He re-adopted the identity of Jack Frost, and sought a solitary existence in an Incredible Hulk story by Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko.

Later in the decade, Shapanka returned to the criminal identity of the Blizzard (having lost the ability to generate cold on his own), attacked what he thought to be his nemesis, Iron Man, and was killed by Arno Stark... The Iron Man of 2020 in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20.

Steve Chung
"Holiday On Review"