Review: Klaus

Quick Summary

Pros: This is a wonderful story that adds a little spice to Santa’s history. It is filled with action, adventure, and fun while still managing to deliver a wonderful and classic Christmas message. In addition, the artwork stands on its own as being some of the best art out there.

Cons: The story is a little short and thus ends a little abruptly.

Overall: This is a beautiful story for both the eyes and the heart. It retells the story of Santa in a brand new and exciting way that manages not to deviate too far from tradition. This allows it to feel heartfelt while still being entertaining and exciting. Plus, the art in this book is so lovely that the book is quite nearly worth buying for the art alone.

Story

Holiday stories come and go nearly every year in nearly every form of media. Some of them manage to stick around and become classics but most of them drift away to be forgotten by time. This story is not one to be forgotten and deserves to remain around as a holiday classic, at least for comic books.

Klaus is a reimagining of Santa’s origin that could have only come from the mind of Grant Morrison. It is fun, playful, and touching yet still manages to be filled with action and intrigue. This is a story that will interest people who like comic books and people who just enjoy the holidays. Overall, it proves that there are still more stories to be told about the Christmas season and that some of the most interesting ones are not nessacarely the ones that have been around the longest.

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In experiencing this story, readers will be happy to find that this is not just a retelling of some classic. The end of the first issue assures the audience of this as Klaus encounters the spirits of the woods while tripping on magic mushrooms. Basically, it pulls out as much action and craziness as you would expect from another comic book about a medieval vigilante but does it while telling a Christmas story. This gives the story some depth as it presents something heartwarming and true wrapped up in an entertaining cloak of action, magic, and adventure. All of this allows it to be more than “just another Christmas story”; it becomes a new take on Christmas stories that is perfect for the medium in which it is printed.

Grant Morrison is well known for his astounding ability to impart a heartfelt message through the medium of comics; this story is no exception. The message and takeaway from this story is not quite a new one but it comes across as feeling as classic as Rudolph, Frosty, or any other Christmas story. The entire story is very impactful but some sections are particularly poetic and meaningful: “Once upon a time they all lived happily but the time is always NOW. And Now outlives each of us.” While other stories are much more definitive in the realm of songs, movies, or television specials; this one will no doubt be the definitive comic book Christmas story.

If there is a problem with this collection, it would be that it ended too quickly. Unfortunately, the setup for this story takes the lion’s share of the pages. This makes for a conclusion that happens rather abruptly. This problem is by no means large and definitely is no large strike against this book. In fact, leaving the reader wanting more is probably the best problem a book can have.

(spoilers end here)

Art

Sometimes artists are better at drawing people, while sometimes they are better at drawing landscapes; Dan Mora excels at both and is able to prove it. Mora is a fantastic artist who brings his best in this volume. The art in this collection is fantastic and is possibly some of the best art I have seen in a comic book.

The colors throughout this work pop on each and every page and manage to bring a little Christmas cheer to the book. Even pages where blacks and greys dominate manage to feel more alive by being highlighted by the white of snow or by the red glow of a candle. This makes depressing scenes leave the audience with a sense that there is still something to hope for, which fits right into the theme of the story.  Overall, the colors imbue a feeling of the holiday spirit and help add to the eye candy that is this book.

This is not just an ordinary Christmas story but rather a new take on something that is already there. While Morrison is able to bring this out in the story, Mora shows he is equally capable in bringing it out in the art. The depictions of castles, the clothing on the people, and the look of the woods are all things that ground this story in a more traditional sense. However, the colorful toys, the magic wood spirits, Santa’s new sleigh, and Krampus himself make the reader realize that they are reading something new and wonderful. This allows this book to not only make its mark on holiday stories through its action but through its art as well.

Continuity

There are no other Klaus titles as of yet although Grant Morrison has expressed interest in continuing the series.

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