The tales themselves however, despite being ripe for darkness, always manage to stay above the abyss of bleak and instead play out more like an action movie on the page.
I never ask a lot for Christmas. A little glass of something Irish and alcoholic, a few chocolates maybe, perhaps a snowy film with the family, and, if there’s time, a bloody and brutal clash between darkness and light in the Santa infused madness that is Xmasville, and some socks, always socks.
Christmas is almost upon us once more, and in perfect tune with the season of goodwill comes a new adventure for Grant Morrison creation, Klaus. The red hooded, dark bearded, muscle bound, sword wielding festive favourite is back with an absolutely ferocious bang in, Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville!
This one-shot outing is so completely and gloriously unhinged that I honestly don’t think I can do it justice using only the written word. Perhaps some interpretive dance would be more useful to explain the gist of this one, and a few fireworks for the wow factor. You see, the Crisis in Xmasville, is utterly bonkers!
Here’s the blueprint. It’s August, 1985, a family car drives through the night on route to a birthday dinner, when, much to their astonishment, snow begins to fall. They stumble upon the town of Xmasville, a location not noted on the road map, and stop for fuel. Everyone in town appears to be decked out in their finest Santa suits, the jollity of Christmas is shadowed heavily by an overwhelming creepiness, and then, as Dad goes to pay, all hell breaks free. I won’t divulge any spoilers, but let’s just say what follows is a tale that involves aliens, a cola company with a hidden agenda, harvested imaginations, and a bitter struggle as Klaus faces his toughest challenge to date against an evil Santa, the tails to Klaus’s heads.
The whole story does a phenomenal job as it either massages the curiosity, or whisks the reader along at breakneck pace. In terms of the actual plot, it skips between brilliance and confusion, but is heavily weighted on the side of the brilliant, which is, well, brilliant. Klaus seems to be better fleshed out with every appearance, and the world he inhabits grows with every new chapter, which for such a great character is fantastic news.
My only issue with the comic, if I had to nit pick slightly, is that it really could have done with being a little bit longer. At 48 pages it’s no small fry, but the story is so layered and complex that I would have loved the chance to learn more about the backstory of the various players. Instead, I felt that the climax had been reached when I was still getting my teeth into the guts of this tale. That said, my time spent reading this one was largely a hugely enjoyable experience.
The artwork from Dan Mora is just wonderful. Nothing is wasted, every single panel has a purpose, and the sumptuous detail on character and background just drips from every page. Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville is one of those comics that demand you read again simply to take in the elements that passed you by on the first run. Little nuggets like the Delorean car sat in the background of a tale set in 1985, and the completely blatant hit at Coca Cola’s moulding of Christmas that litter the landscape.
For me, the whole Klaus character just gets stronger and stronger. Grant Morrison’s take on the legend is rich, engaging, and delights with its blend of Christmassy settings as a backdrop to some pretty dark storytelling. The tales themselves however, despite being ripe for darkness, always manage to stay above the abyss of bleak and instead play out more like an action movie on the page. I was a fan of Klaus going in to this one, and I leave an ever more devoted follower, keen to see where Morrison and Mora take us next. Christmas is still a little way off, but why not treat yourself to an early present and take a glimpse into Xmasville.
Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville releases on December 6.