ComicsVerse is celebrating the 12 Days of X-Mas by taking a look at some of our favorite X-Men holiday-themed issues! Today, we’re talking about Colossus’ Christmas Eve ghostly encounter in UNCANNY X-MEN #365!

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The X-Men, like practically every person on Earth, carry baggage. They live drama filled lives, full of loss, deceit, and, occasionally, happiness. UNCANNY X-MEN #365 chronicles Colossus’ personal struggle with the loss of his sister, Illyana. Colossus’ return to the X-Men inadvertently forced him to set his grieving aside and focus on his work as a superhero. While it is always good to learn how to move on, Colossus’ baggage is a little too fresh to ignore. Losing his sister was a huge loss for the Russian mutant. He has to grieve properly — even if he doesn’t want to.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The issue is set up as a sort of “Christmas Carol” spoof, with the “Ghost of X-Mas Past” visiting Colossus on Christmas Eve. A mysterious woman keeps pestering Colossus by calling to him and leaving him creepy little messages all over his drawings. Colossus tries to make sense of what he’s seeing by explaining the situation to his friends who, of course, don’t believe him. Finally, the spirit reveals herself as Illyana, Colossus’ dead sister. She needs him to do something for her, but she can’t tell him explicitly what she needs since she’s a ghost and apparently the afterlife has a lot of rules. With a few clues, Colossus figures out what it is his sister wants: remembrance. She just wants him to remember her instead of blocking out those memories (and the pain that comes with them).

In the end, whether or not Colossus actually saw a ghost is called into question when Marrow explains her Christmas gift to him. She was the one who wrote the creepy messages over his drawings — not Illyana.

Did Colossus’ sister really visit him on Christmas Eve? Or did he imagine it? Does it really matter?

A Christmas Miracle in UNCANNY X-MEN #365

Out of all the “12 Days of X-Mas” installments that I’ve done thus far, UNCANNY X-MEN #365 is, by far, the most uplifting. It’s still, at its heart, about a loss, but writer Steve Seagle and artist Chris Bachalo paint it in an inspiring way. Although Colossus struggles with his sister’s death throughout the issue, he eventually comes to the realization that, even though it hurts, he has to keep her in his memory. He also comes to the realization that, although Illyana is gone, he still has a family that loves him.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The final panel of the comic shows all of the X-Men celebrating Christmas together. Honestly, this isn’t something that we have seen much of in past holiday themed X-Men issues. Although the theme of family is strong in all X-Men issues, a lot of the past holiday X-Men issues are preoccupied with action. They are, after all, comic books.

UNCANNY X-MEN #365 is not at all interested in creating an elaborate battle scene, which is surprisingly refreshing. Yes, Marvel comics are about action and saving the world, but, sometimes, these characters deserve more than that. Colossus has been around since the ’70s and he has quite an extensive past. UNCANNY X-MEN #365 gives him the space to understand and grapple with his own history.

Are Ghosts Real?

UNCANNY X-MEN #365 is, in a strange way, a mystery as well as a tragedy. The question of whether or not Colossus’ ghostly encounter is real naturally appears throughout the comic, as Colossus’ friends poke fun at his supernatural qualm. The fact that Marrow was the one writing all of those notes (which Colossus assumed were from the ghost) seems to prove that ghosts aren’t real and that Colossus was just imagining things. But the scene with Illyana’s ghost appears very real and Colossus seems very sane. Plus, in the world of mutants superheroes, are ghosts really that unbelievable? An encounter with a ghost seems on par for the kinds of adventures the X-Men usually get themselves into.  

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The real question then becomes does it matter? In a regular issue of UNCANNY X-MEN, I would say that it definitely matters. However, for this holiday special, I don’t think it does. This issue is less about plot, action, and the typical “good vs. evil” debate. Whether or not the ghost was real doesn’t affect the transformation that Colossus goes through.

Sometimes, it’s best just to be thankful and to not ask too many questions — especially around the holidays.

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