Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Release Date: 3rd February, 2016
I want to preface this interview with a disclaimer – Klaus is not a bad comic. Far from it, in fact. It features a creative look at a decidedly different version of one of the world’s most established characters, and the artwork is truly stunning.
Unfortunately, my main problem with this book is the fact that the writer is Grant Morrison.
Allow me to clarify; I absolutely love Grant Morrison’s work. His run on Animal Man is one of my favourite comics of all time, and the rest of his body of work pretty much speaks for itself, cementing the Scot’s place as one of the most dynamic, cerebral and unconventional writers the medium has ever seen. And see, that’s why I have a problem with Klaus, because for all its bold “Santa Claus: Year One” marketing, the sad fact is that it’s just a little… bland. It has no edge, no bite, no unique “Morrison-ness”, and while it’s still an enjoyable enough read, it just feels like a massively missed opportunity to have one of the greatest comic book writers on the planet today do something truly special.
The characters are almost intentionally clichéd, particularly the evil “baddie” whose only real dialogue seems to be reading out lists of things that people aren’t allowed to do. No playing! No toys! No having fun! It feels like I’m watching a cheesy animated Christmas Special, and unless this is all some elaborate meta gag on the part of Morrison who is going to yank back the curtain to reveal the swerve of all swerves, this is shaping up to be one hell of a disappointment.
Thankfully, while the narrative is infuriatingly derivative, Dan Mora’s artwork is anything but as he cranks out page after page of truly beautiful illustration, giving the characters a sense of life that, let’s be honest, they don’t necessarily deserve. Klaus himself is a wonderfully dynamic creation, a muscle-bound wild man with cat-like agility and a stoic demeanour, and Mora’s colours flood the pages with both comforting warmth and chilling cold as the story ebbs and flows.
Overall then, while this latest issue has its fair share of dynamic moments and a final panel that hints at a deeper story to be told, I still can’t shake the niggling feeling of disappointment at just how ‘by-the-numbers’ Klaus has been so far. Those looking for an enjoyable, inoffensive fantasy romp about a hunter becoming Santa Claus should probably give this a look, but those of us hoping to see Grant Morrison weave more of his trademark magic are likely to end up with the comic book equivalent of a lump of coal in their stocking.
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