Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review - Sleigher: The Heavy Metal Santa Claus #1 (@ActionLabDanger)

"Consider this an early Christmas present."

Santa Claus has an annual ritual where he rewards children the world over for being good in the previous year. There are plenty of others who cheer him on for that and others who resent him. Sleigher in Sleigher: The Heavy Metal Santa Claus #1 from Action Lab Danger Zone is one of the former. The issue is written by Rob Harrington and Adam Horrigan, illustrated by Axur Eneas, colored by Alessandro Alessi and lettered by Chas! Pangburn.

Sleigher is the most recent (and reluctant) heir of the centuries old lineage to bear the title of "Santa Claus." He'd rather slam back bourbon than glasses of milk, and blast metal instead of carols. But when evil rears its head before he's delivered a single present, maybe he's found his true calling-dishing out a holiday ass-whoopin!!!

The issue opens up by tackling a very serious topic in the Catholic church with tongue firmly in cheek as Harrington and Horrigan use it to introduce Sleigher as a no-holds barred, no-nonsense Santa Claus type figure. Sleigher wears his heavy metal influences very openly and the writing duo use that to their advantage. The script is full of brash exchanges and a lot of threats, all of which give the book a very angry tone. Harrington and Horrigan capitalize on this tone though to tell a tale rife with humor and a lot of plot. In fact, it's arguable that there's almost too much going on in the first issue as the two struggle to balance universe building and plot advancement.

Matching the somewhat irreverent tone of the script is the artwork by Eneas. Sleigher is rendered as the heavy metal altar ego of Santa Claus and Eneas gives him quite a bit more of a fighting prowess than his jollier inspiration. Many of the characters have a cartoonish sensibility in their appearance that further grounds the book in frivolity. Eneas blacked the gutters as well that adds another layer of grit to the work that also allows the characters to stand out that much more. Alessi's colors are pretty basic, yet they do manage to infuse the book with plenty of personality.

Sleigher: The Heavy Metal Santa Claus #1 takes a familiar concept and cranks it up to 11. Sleigher is determined to make the world a better place by getting rid of the bad which in turn makes the lives of children better. Harrington and Horrigan aren't shy about defining Sleigher as a less than conventional hero (similar to Deadpool) that you want to cheer for. Eneas' artwork is a great fit for the tale and provides the right amount of visualization for the gags in the book. Sleigher: The Heavy Metal Santa Claus #1 isn't trying to be anything profound and readers should really just strap in and hang on tight.

Sleigher: The Heavy Metal Santa Claus #1 is in stores now.


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