Back in Time with Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s Santa Klaus
Klaus and the Witch of Winter
After Grant Morrison created an action packed origin story for Santa Claus in a six issue Boom! Studios mini series in late 2015 and early 2016 with Klaus, he and artist Dan Mora have since done annual one-shots. These either focus on Klaus or other similar characters in the same universe that embody other mythological aspects of Santa Claus from around the world.
The first of these is Klaus and the Witch of Winter, which was released around Christmas of 2016. Set in the modern day, centuries after the initial miniseries, Klaus has come to the rescue of a pair of young siblings who have been kidnapped by the Witch of Winter.
Between the end of the first story and the beginning of this one, Klaus created a toy workshop and did deliver presents to kids. But apparently, at some point he was caught in the middle of a war in the moon and held prisoner out there for years.
Return to the Workshop
In his search, Klaus is led to his old workshop where he’s ambushed by powerful snow creatures and taken prisoner. He soon learns that the Witch is aided by Geppetto, a former apprentice of Klaus. Geppetto is forced to create wooden soldiers with powerful snow magic used as armor, otherwise the Witch will age him to death.
Using an enchanted necklace, the Witch mind controls one of the kids, Naomi, to make her belief of Santa Claus’s failure to weaken Klaus and strengthen herself. Lilli, his trusted wolf, leads Geppetto and other elves to help fight Witch’s forces. When the Witch orders Naomi to kill her brother, Ben, he manages to talk her out of it and she regains control.
With her powers weakened, the Witch and her forces are defeated. In the end, Klaus brings back the kids to their father and promises to rebuild the workshop.
So Many Unseen Stories
Klaus and the Witch of Winter has such an interesting concept behind it that it’s impossible to not to be interested in the other one shots, though fails in a few ways in this initial premise. Grant Morrison’s passion is there, but his tendency to overstuff so much information into one comic really hurts the story.
It starts so abruptly without giving us time to breathe and with a lot of information throughout the comic regarding what Klaus has been through, that it feels like it either needed to be longer or needed more issues to show some flashbacks to understand every single form of exposition that’s laced out. It can get very confusing as nearly every single page something is offhandedly mentioned about an event that we never see but feels so important. This ends up giving readers so many questions to ask, though afraid they’ll never be answered.
Here’s hoping that this writing improves with the subsequent one shots. Even the ending feels abrupt, not really making it clear what the Witch of Winter is or what will happen to her. However, Morrison still manages to make Klaus a fun and interesting character, never letting his imprisonment forget who he is and willing to help kids even after all these years.
Another positive that continues from the original story is Dan Mora’s artwork. Not only is the incredible detail still around, but the color is just as vibrant and beautiful as ever. Plus, the action scenes are spectacular and well done.
While Klaus and the Witch of Winter doesn’t have the fire of the previous story, it has enough of a spark to keep one interested enough to continue the annual one shots.
You can read Klaus and the Witch of Winter at Boom! Studios, Comixology, and your local comic book store.