Klaus is a book that both intrigues and confuses me- it’s a Grant Morrison penned Santa Claus origin story, but somehow it ended up only just getting started before Christmas passed it by. So this issue and the four others to follow will be released in an increasingly more spring (and also summer)-time feeling world. Unless there is some sort of crazy El Nino stuff happening where we end up getting Christmas weather in May, I think this book may have missed it’s prime release schedule by quite a bit.
But beyond the issues with the release schedule, I cannot find much to say to the detriment of this book. It is a Santa Claus Story that will see it’s last issue released in (maybe) June, but it still is a very well crafted story, and Dan Mora’s artwork really makes you FEEL like you are in this ancient village in the depths of winter.
I wasn’t sure what this issue would be about, because of Klaus being in a bit of a pickle, running from the law and all- but it ended up working pretty well- if not mostly being setup for the idea that Klaus delivers presents to the children of this town through their chimneys, almost entirely by coincidence. Also, the end of the issue teases that number four will finally give us answers as to the relationship between Klaus and Dagmar- Lord Magnus’ wife.
We also see there is more to this story than just a baddie, Magnus, and his need to crush the life and livelihood out of his subjects- this issue we get teased with some powers well beyond that of mortal men at play. Add this to the “spirits” that guide Klaus’ hands (literally) while he sleeps, or trips on some strange mythical cauldron of herbs and spices like the Colonel has.
This issue shows a good relationship between Klaus and his pet wolf/companion Lilli, and the massive divide between Magnus and his subjects AND teases that there is a history between Klaus and Dagmar. While some of the “traditional” Santa Claus moments feel a bit obvious in this story, it is still a really well done book.
I really like how dynamic the visuals of this book are, and how we get such different looking scenes between those set outdoors in the snow and those indoors where the fun has all been drained from the town. This issue gives us a new location of the coal mines, where we see the inhumane conditions and rundown workers, PLUS we see Magnus conversing with some pretty intimidating THING that seems trapped down there somehow. Plus the thing trapped in the mines is doing it’s level best to infect the minds and corrupt the mine workers, which seems like it will be a bit of a problem going forward with this story.
Grant Morrison is a really, really stellar writer- the characters he has created in this pre-Santa Claus world are all very different and unique. The art from Dan Morra is really detailed and absolutely immersive. I love this book, and I will put on my ugliest of Christmas sweaters whenever this book comes out and hunker down with a tall hot mug of hot chocolate and sweat myself into a frenzy just to give credit to this weird, strange and really fun book!