Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville (one-shot) – Grant Morrison

4 out of 5

See, that’s all you really needed to do with super Santa Klaus – get silly with him. Have him summoned by a magic pop gun, fighting mesmerized mall santas and his evil doppelganger from Mars. We don’t need a gritty, over-lored “reboot” of the fabled character; nor do we need tales weighed down by messaging or attempts at deciphering the meaning of Christmas, given that that’s already the pitch behind, like, every story concerning that holiday. Not that that stuff can’t be enjoyable in its own right, but it’s okay – we laughed at the idea of a muscled, sword-wielding Santa, so it’s definitely okay to lean in to that.

And it works for Dan Mora, also! Dan has this odd blend of gutsy, Marvel-style heroics in his hero and villain character designs with a tendency for animated flourish, and its made for an odd tonal balance in most of the Klaus stories. His storytelling, in terms of setting and choreography, can also be a bit sketchy. Crisis in Xmasville works completely in BIG ideas and broad strokes, and it just vibes with the way Dan puts his pages together.

Grant includes perhaps two or three characters too many – the grandfather and son working together to restart the “take over the world” hilarious masterplan of resort town Xmasville (which is run by aliens and funding weapons of mass destruction, natch) could probably have been consolidated into one person, and the framing bit with a family visiting the town is an unneeded afterthought – but the bulk of the story flows with all of those crazy left-field concepts Grant excels at piecing together, and brings in dashes of Christmas-folklore without it being distracting or showy.