Review – Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas GN (Legendary)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Legendary Comics
Writers: Zach Shields, Todd Casey
Artists: Christian Dibari, Maan House, Stuart Sayger, Michael Montenant
Release Date: 24th November, 2015

Serving as a prequel to the upcoming Universal film, ‘Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas’ is a collection of four interconnected stories set within the same small town, whose inhabitants find themselves under siege from the titular yuletide demon and his ghoulish minions.

The book’s first three chapters introduce us to a wide spectrum of characters, all of whom face Krampus’ wrath in some shape or form, with the final chapter serving as an epilogue to prior events. Love, loss, redemption, and forgiveness, are just some of the themes explored by writers Zach Shields and Todd Casey, who use coincidence and consequence as subtle connective tissue between the stories to great effect, peppering it with moments of wicked humour.

In chapter one we meet a jaded, foul-mouthed Vietnam veteran working as Santa Claus at the local mall, still dealing with the trauma caused by his wartime experience, whilst chapter two centres on a determined cop seeking vengeance on the person who killed her sister in a hit and run accident. The third story deals with the plight of a disparate group of misfits living in a condemned building, the Scrooge-like owner of which shown the error of his ways in a brilliantly warped version of A Christmas Carol.

Although each story has its own unique tone (in fact, each becomes progressively darker), and features a different artist, overall the book still manages to feels like a cohesive whole. Each artist brings something distinctive to the table from a composition and layout perspective, but stylistically, there are obvious similarities in approach, which brings a pleasing consistency to the art. From Fiona Staples’ wonderful cover image, Maan House’s character design, and Christian Dibari’s kinetic storytelling, to the terrifying drama of Stuart Sayger’s compositions, and Michael Montenant’s cinematic epilogue, the standard throughout is seriously impressive, with several standout moments sure to capture the eye and imagination.

It’s hard to pick a favourite among such a stellar collection of stories, but purely for its magnificent blend of tragedy, comedy, and action, the Bad Santa meets Die Hard meets Gremlins extravaganza of the first chapter just edges it; and it’s every bit as insanely awesome as that sounds. But in truth, each story contained in this volume is equally praiseworthy.

So, if you’re looking for a darker alternative to the saccharine sweetness of traditional Christmas fare, this superb collection of nightmarish morality fables might just be the book for you.

Rating: 5/5.

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MDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
You can follow Martin on Twitter
You can check out more of Martins reviews and thoughts on random retro things over at Retromuse

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