(w) Grant Morrison (a) Dan Mora
As the year comes to a close, it’s time for another Klaus one-shot in what is becoming a new favorite holiday tradition. Once more, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora bring readers a story featuring their badass Santa as he tries to save Christmas from the forces of evil. These year, the creators take the gloves off, presenting readers with a crazy, cosmic adventure whose ultimate thesis is surprisingly appropriate for the season.
What makes Morrison stand out as a writer is that he does not feel the need to explain why something is happening. He understands the uniqueness of the medium and how it allows for limitless possibilities. If his Santa Claus is a sword-wielding warrior with wolves instead of reindeer that can traverse the cosmos alongside a sentient snowman, then that’s what’s going to happen. And yes, that is exactly something that happens. There’s also time travel, the mythical Ragnarok, and a host of other wild events that Morrison brings to the reader. In fact, it’s so packed that the heartfelt moments at times feel like an afterthought.
The issue’s titular snowman is the reincarnation of a man, built in winter by the child he left behind. Yes, it sounds similar to the plot of the 1998 movie Jack Frost, only this time the snowman’s past life was a just a tad less moral than Michael Keaton’s. Morrison also makes sure to play up the “crying” part of the title, with this snowman constantly lamenting his situation and wishing he had done things differently. While there are times this boggs down the pacing, there is a great payoff at the issue’s end that makes it worthwhile.
Speaking of worthwhile, this issue should be picked up for Dan Mora’s artwork alone. His ability to distill Morrison’s crazy ideas into a readable (and understandable) sequence of images is matched by only a select few. In addition to being a great collaborator, his stylistic tendencies are beautiful. The man can’t seem to draw a bad page. Each page, whether it’s a battle-filled, double-page splash or a standard, paneled, character-driven one is captivating. In addition, Mora throws subtle little details in which add an extra layer of storytelling that further builds the world of Klaus. For example, this year, Klaus looks just a little bit older than he has in the past. His hair is shorter, his face has more visible wrinkles, and his hair color is lighter.
Klaus and the Crying Snowman is not one of the better tales of Morrison and Mora’s reimagined Santa Claus, but it is still a wonderful Christmas treat. It’s a wild ride through the cosmos that occasionally loses its way, but is never boring. Morrison and Mora drag the reader through sensory overload that is as exciting as it is overwhelming. And ultimately, the story finds its way home with a strong finish that packs one hell of an emotional punch.
- Mora's artwork
- World Building
- Emotional Weight
- Sloppy Script