Archive for Klaus

Miles Ahead


Spider-Man #1

Well, I never read the previous Miles Morales comics, because I generally avoided the Ultimate universe once it got so pointlessly screwed-up. So a lot of this is backstory I’ve never been aware of, and some of it is stuff that I’ve learned by reading what other people have to say about it.

So let’s start from the top. Miles Morales is the Spider-Man from the Ultimate universe, and he now lives in the main Marvel Universe. He’s not alone — his family is here, too, including his mother, who actually died several years ago. Some of his friends are here, too, including his best pal Ganke. But all is not rosy in Miles’ new world — he’s not doing well in school, and he has to cut class to go fight supervillains.

And the latest supervillain is a doozy. By the time Miles shows up on the scene, he’s already beat the stuffing out of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Vision, and Scarlet Witch. His name is Blackheart, and he’s a huge and absolutely terrifying demon — and he’s way out of Miles’ league. So why does he beat it so quickly? And why does that make Peter Parker so angry?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of cool character work on Miles and his supporting cast, and the action is good, too. My lone quibble — this is the first Marvel comic I’ve seen in ages that didn’t come with an intro page summary — and this one really needed it for people who weren’t more familiar with Miles.


Captain Marvel #2

Carol and the members of Alpha Flight explore the derelict spacecraft that crashed into the space station last issue. It’s dark and spooky and unpleasant, and there’s goo everywhere, and some dead aliens, and way too many automated defense systems. Even when they get back to the space station, the trouble isn’t over. The enemy attacking them is probably aboard the ship — and Captain Marvel sustained more serious injuries from the ship’s defense systems than she thought…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic horror-movie atmosphere on board the spacecraft, and it’s great to see Alpha Flight doing more than standing around looking purty.


Klaus #3

Lord Magnus’s men sic a bunch of dogs on Klaus, but his wolf Lilli scares them off. By the time the guardsmen make it to the square, they find Klaus’ footprints and Lilli’s pawprints — and they start worrying they’ve got a werewolf on their hands. The captain orders his men to watch every door, so Klaus will have to find another way to get toys to the poor children in Grimsvig. Meanwhile, children are sending their wishes up chimneys, Magnus’s wife is keeping secrets, and there’s something horrible hiding inside the mines.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, fun art — but with another four issues to go, we won’t finish this Santa Claus origin story ’til summer. That’s just poor planning, y’all.


The Vision #4

With Viv recovered and back home, it seems that happy days are back for the Visions — but Virginia still has her mysterious blackmailer holding the secret of the Grim Reaper’s murder over her head. Most of the kids at school don’t like Vin or Viv — except for Viv’s lab partner, Chris Kinzky, who Vin beat up after she was injured. But Chris likes Viv a lot — which is going to make it really uncomfortable when it turns out that his dad is the blackmailer…

Verdict: Thumbs up. As creepy as always — and now starting to read as much like a Greek tragedy as anything. There’s no way anyone is getting a happy ending out of this, not a chance in hell.

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Santa Claus Kicks a Little Ass


Klaus #2

Things are still pretty grim in the town of Grimsvig, but we’re seeing some improvement, thanks to a barbarian who’s stealthily sneaking through the city and knocking out the guards. Not even the toughest or most thuggish of mooks seem to stand a chance against Klaus — and in the morning, all the kids in the city have incredibly awesome new toys. Will Lord Magnus and his spoiled son Jonah stand for this? By all that’s unholy and greedy, heck no!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice art, nice story. Fun to see burly, muscular Santa kicking up the badassery, and the stealth moments are some of the best in the story.


The Wicked + the Divine #17

Our focal character in this issue is Sakhmet, and our guest artist is the wonderful Brandon Graham. Sakhmet is a cat in human form, lazy and regal and bored and without cares and terribly, terribly dangerous — and really, the only way to keep her from going out and eating people is to make sure she’s sauced all the time. And hey, it’s the end of a storyarc — what’s the big game-changing cliffhanger this time? It’s not an earth-shattering one this time, but it’s still pretty good.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Sweet focus on the mysterious and lethal catgirl, and Brandon Graham seems like a weird artist for this series, considering Jamie McKelvie’s clean and gorgeous work, but it’s always fun to experience Graham’s squishy, detailed artwork.


I Hate Fairyland #3

As you might guess from that cover, things get a little tough for Gertrude in this issue. After she takes a terrific fall that knocks her out long enough for her to grow a beard and her henchbug Larry to build a house, get married, raise a family, get divorced, and lose everything again, Queen Cloudia talks to Fairyland’s Council of Elders and persuades them that Gertrude will never find the magic key to let her leave — so they should invite a new little girl in to take her place. And while Gert has axes and rage, bright-eyed young Happy has optimism and sweetness and terrifically destructive rainbow magic…

Verdict: Thumbs up, almost entirely for the lengthy section in the middle where Larry builds a new life for himself while waiting for Gertrude to swim back to consciousness…

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War on Christmas


Klaus #1

Revisionist, dark and gritty origins of Santa Claus seem like they’d be a dime a dozen — but when it’s an independent comic written by Grant Morrison, I’m a bit more likely to give it a shot.

The good news is — it’s not that dark and gritty. Yeah, it’s set in a distant past when a half-civilized hunter named Klaus hauls in a load of slaughtered deer to the walled city of Grimsvig. His memories of a happier town are much different from the current situation here — it’s a joyless place, with most of the men slaving away in the mines, guards abusing citizens, and children banned from playing or owning any sort of toy, even improvised ones like rocks. The tyrannical leader, Lord Magnus, exults in his power, while his spoiled son Jonas is the only child allowed to have toys — and he despises all of them.

Klaus, meanwhile, takes offense when a guard beats a child, but he’s quickly outnumbered, beaten, and forced from the city, while the guards stalk him to kill him. He’s saved by his pet wolf, Lilli, but he’s still on the outside of the city, eating a mushroom-stocked broth to heal from his wounds, and wondering how he can make life better for the children in Grimsvig. Can one of Klaus’ psychedelic visions hold the answer?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really, it’s not dark and gritty, and that means it’s a lot better than I’d feared. Yeah, Klaus kills deer, attacks guards, get furious about injustice — which is really just fine with me. There’s a core of Klaus’ character that feels true to the familiar Santa Claus myths — he loves kids, he doesn’t like people who abuse kids, he’s willing to do hard work with his hands — and there’s toys involved at the end, too. This looks like it’ll be good fun.


Sensation Comics #16

In our first story, Diana visits Gotham City and encounters the mythical monster Echidna, who’s trying to track some kidnappers of children — monster children, actually. Diana offers to help — partly because Echidna is not good at investigation and tends to just kill people she should be interrogating. She ends up meeting Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Professor Pyg — but is she just getting the runaround? Will she be able to save the children before it’s too late? In our second story, Wonder Woman and Superman hang out and perform a few feats. Wondy officiates over a gay wedding and implies that, if she’s not a lesbian, she’s at least not straight either, which has gotten this issue a certain amount of notoriety.

Verdict: Thumbs down, which is too bad, ’cause I wanted to like this one. It’s got guest stars — it’s actually fun to see Wonder Woman interact with Bat-foes like Harley and Pyg — it’s got excellent fights and action, it works hard to come up with some good character moments. But no, the art is weird, the dialogue is stilted, the character moments are ham-fisted, and I just didn’t get that much joy out of the comic.

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