Review - Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 (@boomstudios)

"Once upon a time...Christmas came early."

Klaus is a fighter and preserver of tradition. He loves helping people and is fond of making sure everyone is happy. When those two goals are threatened, then he'll do whatever's necessary to preserve those traditions. In Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 from BOOM! Studios, Klaus is fighting hard to preserve them. The issue is written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Dan Mora and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

An evil Santa from an alternate dimension has founded an evil soda corporation that uses Christmas and Santa as a marketing tactic to build their fortunes. Only Klaus can defeat the Pola Cola Corp and the zombie-like Santas that are in the evil Santa's thrall.

Morrison realizes the somewhat commercially bastardized holiday that Christmas has become and using that at the center of Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 is actually pretty genius. The setting of Xmasville is one that Morrison pitches as a Christmas utopia, but as the issue unfolds it's clear there's a lot more evil there. Representing that battle for preserving the tradition is Klaus and an evil, anthropomorphic Santa that Morrison infuses with an abundance of malice and spite. Morrison's dialogue throughout the issue is pretty sharp as well, embellishing the emphasis that corporations put on the holiday as a means of selling more product. The issue is paced well considering it's an oversized issue, but there are parts where it feels slightly rushed in that Morrison moves pretty quickly to get Klaus back in the saddle against his nemesis.

Mora's illustrations in the issue are very strong and emphatic. There are very sharp and clean lines throughout the issue that Mora uses to embellish Xmasville as a combination of small-town and marketing pitch. Many of Mora's facial expressions are fairly simplistic in their approach, but extremely effective at conveying everything from capitalist rage to mindless dronery. The panels are frenetic as Mora follows the ebb and flow of the book's pacing; the panels highlighting the battle between Klaus and his rival are fiercely rendered. The colors are dark and ominous with a few pops of bright color here and there that are useful in exploring the possibility of hope in an otherwise dire situation.

Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 is phenomenal. Klaus is fighting to preserve some semblance of normalcy in an otherwise evil-minded town, pushed to the brink against an opponent who knows how to defeat him. Morrison's script is fluid and engaging, moving the book briskly from one point to the next and working in some solid battles. Mora illustrates those battles with a recklessness befitting of the combatants. Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 takes the concept of Christmas and the surrounding capitalism and turns it on its head, taking the holiday back to its roots (somewhat) in terms of generosity and hope.

Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 is available now.