Monday, December 21, 2015

Klaus #1 Review

Klaus #1 from BOOM! Studios -

     A very, very long time ago, Klaus is a man who lives alone in the snow-tipped mountains, deep in the forest with his white wolf, Lilli. A good-hearted hunter, a woodsman and a trapper, Klaus' chief concern is trading his skins, furs and meat for the provisions that he and Lilli will need to get them through the harsh midwinter cold. Klaus journeys to the town of Grimsvig to trade, and there expects to see the Yuletide Festival that he loves so much - men on holiday from working the mines, women singing, children playing in the streets - Grimsvig was a place of merriment and cheer during the Yuletide days. But something has changed. The men are breaking their backs in the mines. There is no singing, and the children daren't play in the streets, or at all, because of the heavy-handed rule of Lord Magnus, his wife, Lady Dagmar, and their little hellspawn, Jonas. When a soldier violently lays his hands on an innocent child, Klaus has had enough; he leaps to the child's defense, only to find himself beaten, robbed of his wares, and stripped of his garments that hold the bite of the midwinter cold at bay. Wounded by the soldiers, Klaus escapes, knowing that to return to Grimsvig to help save the families would mean certain death for him. What can one lone wild man do? The answer: plenty...With a strong sword-arm, and the right help...MAGICAL help.

    Watch out Grimsvig. Santa Klaus is coming to town.

    Grant Morrison is back with this original, sword and sorcery-style retelling of the origin of Santa Claus. The story is tight - a bit bloody, a bit violent and totally humorless - but I think that's how it was meant to be at the outset. This is not the Santa we know...Yet. He's a bit of a big-hearted, but wary loner. He's a mountain-man, a hunter, double-tough, with an unshakable sense of right and wrong, and a huge soft spot for children. He seems to be a product of his world, a bitterly cold and unforgiving place, and yet, his character has an inner glow, a gentleness that makes him seem like a man out of place. I actually balked at buying this comic, but now I'm glad that I did because the truth is that I do not want to miss out on the journey this rough mountain-man will take that will ultimately lead him to become the world's most beloved legendary bringer of joy and light. If the first issue is any clue, the road will be paved with danger, and a good bit of blood in this Santa Claus meets Conan the Barbarian mash-up. Dan Mora's splendid art and colors make every single panel of this book pop, and pop HARD. Mora's work is a bit reminiscent of Romita Jr's, but more polished and much less blocky.  Morrison did a rather splendid job on this first issue, and despite my former skepticism, I NEED to see this journey through to the end. Awesome.

RATING: 8.5 out of 10. Klaus slides down the chimney right onto my monthly pulls.


Thanks for reading.

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