9.5

Klaus and the Witch of Winter Transforms Santa Into a Superhero for an Instant Christmas Classic

Comics Reviews Grant Morrison
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<i>Klaus and the Witch of Winter</i> Transforms Santa Into a Superhero for an Instant Christmas Classic

Writer:   Grant Morrison  
Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: December 21, 2016

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The first Klaus 7-issue mini-series by writer Grant Morrison and artist Dan Mora was better in theory than execution. The idea of a Year One-style origin story for Santa was irresistible, and Mora’s art was fantastic, but the story was a bit of a slog—trimming it by half would have been an improvement.

Fortunately, everything promising about that series has borne fruit in the Christmas-timed one-shot Klaus and the Witch of Winter. Morrison and Mora have crafted an exuberant, touching, relevant holiday tale by leaning into the idea of Santa as a superhero.

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Klaus and the Witch of Winter Interior Art by Dan Mora

As the story begins, Klaus has escaped from imprisonment on the moon. The evil Moontians had trapped him with chains of lunaluminum in the city of Lunalopolis. Don’t you hate when that happens? By incorporating a substance reminiscent of adamanatium, vibranium, supremium and other super-stuff, Morrison puts a spandex spin on Santa. This is heightened by other traditional superhero elements such as a hall of trophies and an unexpected crossover I won’t spoil. Readers will leave this issue ready to accept Santa as a member of the Avengers or Justice League.

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Klaus and the Witch of Winter Interior Art by Dan Mora

Once Klaus has escaped decades of imprisonment, he’s off on a new adventure to save two kidnapped children. While attempting this rescue, Klaus has to deal with a changed world, including the consequences of global warming, which is key to the fast-moving plot. As the mythological icon selflessly tries to save a fractured family and planet, he’s never felt so heroic (also, his wolf Lilli is awesome).

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Klaus and the Witch of Winter Interior Art by Dan Mora

Mora’s art was the highlight of the Klaus mini-series, and it continues to impress here. Whether illustrating giant monsters, frightened children or a nasty elf named Spoonlicker, Mora’s illustrations express a lively glee and strong compositional sense. An army of snowbots advancing on Santa through a blizzard is particularly well-conceived and dramatic. Now that Mora and Morrison have been working together for a while, the partnership is seamless and strong.

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Klaus and the Witch of Winter Interior Art by Dan Mora

Morrison and Mara apparently plan to do more Klaus stories, and this one-shot makes that good tidings, indeed. In his typical style, Morrison drops hints of past and potential Santa adventures, including battles with the dastardly Pola Cola Corp. The duo is as perfect a team as Santa and Lilli, so let’s all wish for another sleigh ride soon.

Mark Peters is the author of Bullshit: A Lexicon. Follow him on Twitter.

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