Review: Klaus and the Witch of Winter

Quick Summary

Pros: This continues to build upon the fascinating world established in the Klaus series. It also delivers a great message about the holiday season and a great social message as well. Plus the art looks just as amazing as it did in Klaus.

Cons: The issue is too short for the story it is trying to tell. This causes it to feel rushed and hurried along at points.

Overall: Continuing the trend that the limited series started, Klaus and the Witch of Winter takes a normal holiday story and spins it in a completely nontraditional way. The story still delivers the standard message about the holidays and about Santa, but it also gives a short social message that fits in nicely as well. Overall, this is a beautifully presented story with a great cast of characters to support it. The only problem with it is that it simply is not long enough to tell such a great story.

Story

This story is one part traditional Santa Claus, one part social message, one part Icelandic myth, one part Disney’s Frozen, and a dozen parts pure fun. Morrison and Mora are back and deliver up another non-traditional take on a classic character. This time, however, the story delivers some new greatness by changing up its message and by providing worldbuilding to the Klaus series.
(spoilers start here)

Traditionally, holiday stories are filled with a message about the magic of the season or in the joy of giving gifts. This story, instead, gives a message about global warming and how anyone can be Santa. The global warming message is alright by itself but what makes it different from others is how organically it fits in the story. It does not come across as preachy and turn the book into an Inconvenient Truth, instead it relies on the intelligence of the reader to show how important this message is. I also really enjoyed the message about how Santa delivers all of the gifts in one night. By emulating Santa and handing out gifts themselves, aren’t parents just as much directly working for Santa as any of his elves are? This is just a nice little message that I have not seen before and thought worked very well within this story.

Morrison is a treasure to read when he is worldbuilding, and this story is no different. This story jumps ahead since the prior series, and thus briefly introduces the reader to some pieces of history that have been skipped and some new parts of this world that have yet to be seen. All of this makes the story seem larger in scale, as if it were part of some intensely detailed universe. The way that Klaus talks about Lunalopolis and the civil war that occurred there left me simply dying for a story about that very event. Hopefully this is not the end of Klaus’s journey as this universe Morrison has created is a pleasure to read.

The worst part about this story is that it is too short for what it is trying to tell, leading to it feeling rushed.  The potential for this story is massive however, with only a few dozen pages to tell its tale, the book has to make some sacrifices. This leads to conflicts being resolved as quickly as they are introduced; Lilli and Naomi are both put under and then released from the Witch’s spell almost immediately. It also leaves a lot of unanswered questions about strange motivations; why would the Witch capture Klaus at all if she is able to see into time and see that he will break free? However, the worse part of the story being rushed is that it makes the characters explain the story’s lessons themselves instead of letting the reader discover them; this becomes especially jarring when Naomi delivers a message about Global Warming and the Gulf Streams that seems too on the nose and out of character for someone so young. Overall, this probably would have been better as an oversized comic or an original graphic novel rather than a simple comic book.

(spoilers end here)

Art

Dan Mora is something else entirely in his ability to bring the best possible art to this comic. Not only is the art absolutely stunning, but it helps to enhance the reading experience as well. The way Mora bathes the world in varying degrees of both color and darkness allow this one shot to demonstrate character alignment and magic. There really is no other art style that could work so perfectly with this collection, and Dan Mora deserves tremendous praise for making this issue possible.

Since this is the same art style and quality seen in the Klaus series, make sure you check our review of that series to see a more in depth discussion of this art.

Continuity

This story is a spin-off story from the Klaus series. Although one should read this series before reading this one shot, it is not entirely necessary as the only characters who reappear here are Klaus and Lilli.

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