Some of the best storytelling in TV shows can be found once a year in the middle of the holiday season. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus, it leaves for some interesting situations for the characters in TV shows and it’s always a treat to see. In comic book TV shows, we always seem to see the heroes we love take a break from crime fighting (or so they think) in order to be with their family and loved ones. But as always, crime never takes a holiday and it’s up to them to save the day and make it home in time for presents. Here is a list of episodes to check out in order to get into the holiday spirit with your loved ones and reflect on what matters most during this season.
X-Men (1992) “Have Yourself A Morlock Little Christmas”
Found in season 4, episode 12, we see what Christmas is like for the students living at the X-Mansion. All the heroes are preparing for Christmas day when Storm and Jubilee rope Wolverine in to come with them to finish some last minute shopping. It features Jubilee running through the mall barely able to contain herself, while Wolverine can’t wait to get home. They go ice skating but are interrupted when an ambulance crashes onto the ice and out comes two Morlocks: Ape and Annalee. They plead with the X-Men to cure their friend Leech who has fallen ill. They spend the rest of the episode trying to cure Leech of his sickness while the rest of the gang get Christmas in order. It’s a great episode from an iconic ’90s animated show.
Static Shock “Frozen Out”
In the fifth episode of the second season of the fan favorite series Static Shock we see young Virgil (Static) running late for Frieda’s Hanukkah party. The power goes out on the entire block and he dons his costume in order to investigate the problem. He finds out he’s dealing with a villain who can control ice. Passing by a young homeless girl asking for spare change, he later finds out that the frosty perpetrator is that young homeless girl who calls herself Permafrost. He learns that she isn’t evil, just misunderstood and the rest of the episode is Static trying to calm her down in order to help, and it all culminates with a touching interfaith sermon by Reverend Anderson who teaches Virgil the true meaning of Christmas.
Ultimate Spider-Man “Nightmare On Christmas”
Episode 22 of season 3 sees Spider-Man taking a trip to his past, present, and future (Christmas Carol style) at the hands of the villainous Nightmare. When plans to go Christmas shopping with the crew are thwarted by Spidey being knocked out, he wakes up in his past, more specifically a 1960-esque past. Coaxed by a pair of shoulder angels, he goes on to stop a crime in the past and then wakes up in the present and begins to wonder if anybody really appreciates him (with nobody showing up to go shopping with him and J. Jonah Jameson slamming him in the media). He gives up the suit and goes home, and wakes up in the future where Peter comes to find out the true necessity for being Spider-Man and defeats Nightmare. He wakes up on Christmas where he takes back his suit and celebrates with Aunt May and the gang.
The Flash “Running To Stand Still”
The mid-season finale (episode 9) of season 2 saw Mark Mardon (a.k.a. Weather Wizard) busting Captain Cold and The Trickster (played by Mark Hamill) out of prison to finally kill The Flash. Barry, who is dealing with family drama, relationship drama, and problems at work is only just trying to run fast enough to deal with everything. Meanwhile Iris debates telling her father about her estranged brother. The final set piece features the rag tag team of Rogues crashing Central City’s Christmas and forcing The Flash to run his fastest in order to stop numerous people from dying. We see the introduction of Wally West in this episode as well as some sweet Trickster hi-jinks all set with a Christmas backdrop.
X-Men Evolution “On Angel’s Wings”
X-Men Evolution sees the team of X-Men re-imagined as high school students living a double life as crime fighters being mentored by the likes of Professor X, Beast, Storm, and Wolverine. In the 9th episode of Season 2, we find that a mysterious mutant with wings has been saving those in need around Christmas time. Cyclops and Rogue head out to meet this “Angel” who is anxious about his own mutation; all while Magneto seeks to frame him in order to sow hatred in the community. They team up and defeat Magneto, save a young girl, and induct Angel into Xavier’s institution, all while we see the rest of the team celebrating their respective holidays with their family (except Wolverine, who opts to play pool at a local bar).
Batman: The Brave and the Bold “Invasion Of The Secret Santas”
In Season 1, Episode 5, Red Tornado struggles to find out what the Spirit of Christmas feels like, (since he is an android he cannot feel). He reads books and struggles to truly feel the “tingly” sensation he has heard so much about. When terror strikes in Gotham he flies to the invasion since everybody else on the Justice League is too busy celebrating Christmas. He arrives to find Batman on the scene fighting animatronic Santas. They team up in order to fight the creator of these fiends. Batman deals with the ghosts of his past (including why he doesn’t like Christmas) while Red Tornado helps him to feel the Christmas spirit as they fight to keep the citizens of Gotham safe and help Red Tornado at long last feel that “tingly” sensation.
Arrow “Year’s End”
Episode 9 of season 1 marked the mid-season finale of Arrow with a Christmas episode. Oliver discovers that in his absence from his household that his sister and mother have stopped celebrating Christmas. Since the family is barely being held together, Oliver decides to make up for the time he was gone and to bring the family closer by throwing a family Christmas party. Of course it’s never that straight forward with Oliver, seeing as a new archer has showed up in Starling City and begins riddling people with arrows. It’s up to Oliver to stop the Dark Archer on his murdering spree and keep his family together.
The Spectacular Spider-Man “Reinforcement”
A typical day in the life of Peter Parker, episode 3 of season 2, we see the Sinister Six launching an attack during Christmas time and Peter is torn between defending New York and spending time with Gwen. Spider-Man is chased through the streets and into a shopping mall in an all out effort to find out how to stop the Sinister Six, and repair the growing rift between him and Gwen who has resolved not to be Peter’s “second choice” anymore. There is some solid action, clever Spidey moments, and some great character moments between Peter, Mary Jane, and Gwen; all with the dazzle of Christmas.
Justice League “Comfort and Joy”
Episode 23 of season 2 is the only stand-alone, one-parter episode of the original Justice League animated series. It’s as enjoyable as ever. We see the Justice League thwart their foe within the first few minutes of the episode on Christmas Eve. They all clock out and go home for the holidays (all except Batman who takes Watch Tower duty). Hawkgirl takes Green Lantern to a favorite space-bar, Superman takes Martian Manhunter to the Kent farm in order to introduce him to Earth’s holiday customs and the Flash turns up at an orphanage in order to get them any gift of their choosing. It turns into a Jingle All The Way-esque adventure with The Flash running all over the country tying to get the specific toy that they are looking for leading him to team up with an unlikely ally in order to bring Christmas joy to the orphans.
Batman The Animated Series “Christmas With the Joker”
The second episode of the series was dedicated to one villain, and one holiday, that being Christmas With The Joker. Mark Hamill as always shines at the focal point of this jolly caper. The Joker busts out of Arkham Asylum and all goes quiet in Gotham. Batman cannot believe how calm the city is on Christmas Eve. Robin convinces him to go home and watch It’s A Wonderful Life with Alfred and him. Batman agrees, but as they sit down to watch, it is cancelled by a broadcast from a new show called “Christmas With the Joker.” The Joker shows that he has three hostages and it’s up to Batman to find where the Joker is broadcasting, and stop him (with maybe enough time to catch It’s A Wonderful Life).