Grant Morrison’s epic Klaus: New Adventures is a solid page turner and unique reinvention of the Christmas mythos.
Since reaching adulthood, Santa has always been a force of blatant materialism to me. He stood as a wolf in sheep’s clothing that beckoned children into the deceptively comfortable paradigm that toys and distractions can fill the void in their souls. Klaus: New Adventures changed that for me. I now see Santa as someone on my team, whose image has been corrupted by corporations and used to fulfill their consumerist agendas. I feel something inside me is more whole with this knowledge.
This publication is split into two stories: Klaus and the Witch of Winter and Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville. The first story opens with the immortal Klaus returning from a decades-long imprisonment on the moon to find his kingdom in ruins. Let me begin the review by expressing how much I love this opening. Any avid comic book lover will recognize that this is exactly how Neil Gaiman’s Sandman opens. Rather than feeling like a cheap rip off, it feels more like the beginnings of a trope-ification of Morpheus’ origin that makes me feel privileged to witness as a piece of history.
KLAUS LOVINGLY LIFT ELEMENTS FROM THE SANDMAN SAGA
Klaus rolls from his epic return straight into a battle with a mysterious ice queen type who has enslaved skilled magical toymakers to do her bidding in Santa’s old workshop. He is naturally pissed about that and shows off some superhuman strength, only to have his weakness exploited immediately. There are more than a few times in the story when things feel too rushed to have the impact of events like this one be felt and processed completely.
There are a few characters who I feel have tragic scenes that could have been truly heart wrenching had we the time to get to know them and their plights a little longer. That being said, Grant Morrison nailed the ending to the titular “Witch Of Winter’s” story. It reflected deep archetypal forces inside me that brought tears to my eyes. The theme of this ending seemed to show me that death is never truly an ending, but instead a greater beginning than ever before.
I believe that Dan Mora illustrated both stories in this compilation even though the art styles differ drastically. The first one is tight, modern, and clean. The second, Crisis in Xmasville, shows us his old school inking skills. You can see the sharpie lines in the shadows and it gives it a comforting and intimate glow.
DAN MORA’S ARTISTIC RANGE IS ON FULL DISPLAY IN KLAUS
Crisis in Xmasville starts out just as fast as the first story. An enterprising young man wants to revive his grandfather’s nearly collapsed corporate empire only to discover that the true purpose of the company is far more distasteful than he bargained for. A family goes missing and Klaus is summoned using an old Christmas present to save them. The company employs an alternate universe evil Santa to be the slave driver of mind controlled citizens dressed like Santa in a town called Xmasville that was supposed to be a theme park.
To say that “a lot goes down” would be quite an understatement. It feels like our non-binary saviour Grant Morrison tried to fit as many ideas as he could into this story. As I stated earlier, the crowding hurts the character depth in places. Despite that, Morrison masterfully carves an enjoyable path through the chaos and pulls through with another powerfully emotional ending.
All in all, I’d say it’s worth a read.
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