Published on March 23rd, 2016 | by Noel Thorne0
Klaus #4 Review
You better check out / This comic to buy / Better than most / I’ll tell ya why / Santa Claus is now a Grant Morrison comic! The fourth issue in this great series reveals Klaus’ origins and his history with the fair Lady Dagmar. Elsewhere the evil Lord Magnus has plans for this “Santa” – and what is imprisoned in the coal mines of Grimsvig, calling to be freed?
If you’re familiar with Grant Morrison and hesitant to give his latest comic a shot because of his rep, Klaus is definitely not one of his abstract experimental books – it’s very straightforward and easy to follow. It’s almost Disney-simplistic in its storytelling. Klaus is the good guy through and through (I like to pretend he’s an alternate universe Bruce Wayne, which he sorta is given how Morrison’s writing him), the bad guy is almost comically evil, and you can probably guess what’s going to happen to the love interest and her son – they’re on the villain’s side for now but… etc. Everyone’s roles are so clearly defined it’s almost hard to believe this is a Morrison comic!
Couple that with the gorgeously-drawn early modern European-era winter setting and you’ve got a kiddie-friendly story that brilliantly weaves in the aspects of the Santa myth everyone’s so familiar with: entering houses through chimneys, the negative association of coal, red and white coloured clothing, and children writing letters to Santa. The story might feel simplistic but Morrison’s incorporation of Santa’s aspects into it are ingenious.
This issue shows us Klaus and Lady Dagmar’s childhoods where we see Klaus developing a skill of whittling toys out of wood as well as boy noticing girl with emo-boy looking on enviously (he grows up to be the villain – of course he does!). The reason why Klaus has been away for so long is revealed and it’s the only really weak part in the series so far – it’s such a stupid non-reason.
Otherwise, I loved the positive message of the issue: that the toys aren’t the gifts themselves but the toys’ real gifts to children is how it develops their imagination and spurs creativity. Klaus is a classic good and evil story whose strengths lie in its earnestness.
And once again, Dan Mora – what a talent! Those first couple pages showing Klaus’ frozen mother in the arctic tundra, being whisked away to the snowy majesty of Grimsvig, are absolutely stunning, and the use of shadows is almost photo-realistic, it’s that accomplished. The man excels in every setting but he produces breath-taking work when the story takes us to the snow-laden countryside. Flawless artwork from Mora throughout.
Klaus is a really fun and entertaining Santa origin story from two comics creators at the top of their game and this fourth issue is another fine entry in the series. Don’t wait for Santa to gift you this gem at Christmas, check it out now!
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora