Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Release Date: 6th December 2017
Prior to its release back in 2015, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s Klaus was marketed as “Santa Claus: Year One” and while it didn’t quite live up to that lofty claim, it did manage to fill an interesting gap in the Santa market by giving us an unusual, swords-and-sorcery take on the man with the beard and the presents.
And, with the festive season upon us once again, Morrison and Mora have teamed up to bring us “Crisis in Xmasville”, a brand new one-shot featuring the sword-wielding Santa doing battle with the inhabitants of Xmasville, a town set up by the a town set up by the evil Pola Cola corporation as a marketing gimmick, but which also harbours a sinister secret.
It starts off brilliantly with a young family inadvertently stumbling into the titular town in mid-August. Morrison nails some great horror beats as the family’s fate briskly unfolds, and Mora works seamlessly alongside the Scottish writer to bring the deeply creepy concept of an unrelenting army of Santa Clauses (Clausi?) to life.
However, the second half of the story sees things take a detour into the bizarre, introducing extraterrestrials, a demonic reverse-Santa and a nefarious plot to brainwash children and feed on their imaginations. Yes folks, this is Grant Morrison at his most Grant Morrison-y as we rapidly spiral into a hallucinogenic tale that feels more like a wild brainstorming session than an actual coherent story.
That said, as ‘out there’ as the story undoubtedly is, it does provide ample opportunity for Mora to flex his creative muscle, giving the supremely talented artist the opportunity to draw demonic werewolves, alien spaceships and all manner of militant Santa Claus-related chicanery. He definitely rises to the occasion though, doing his best to keep up with Morrison’s increasingly out-of-control narrative and ensuring that if nothing else, Crisis in Xmasville certainly looks the part.
Ultimately then, while the artwork is truly top-notch, the story is just a little too weird to land with any sort of authority. It’s not quite on the “lump of coal” end of the spectrum, but nor does it deliver on the near-limitless potential of a story based around a sword-wielding, ass-kicking Santa Claus. That said, this is well worth a look for fans of Morrison, fans of great artwork, or simply those who like their festive fables to hit them like some sort of weird, disorienting, alien-filled acid trip.
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