Grant Morrison and Dan Mora first reimagined the persona of Santa Claus in their initial Klaus miniseries, and then followed up with last year's Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville. It's that time of the year again, and just like Christmas itself, Morrison and Mora have returned with Klaus and the Crying Snowman. While the pair's latest one-shot is the most epic in scope, the story is also another beautiful and moving one at a personal level – one of belief and redemption, regardless of past deeds.
Like the previous storylines, this one isn't all about elves and flying reindeer, although there are plenty of nods to traditional Santa Claus tropes. Also like past issues, Morrison shows his apparent affinity for the classic Rankin & Bass Christmas television specials. The snowman referenced in the comic's title is Sam – a quick homage those familiar with those specials will recognize. Beyond such surface acknowledgments, though, there aren't Christmas trees and wreaths displayed everywhere – instead, Morrison and Mora focus on the spirit of the man who personifies Christmas.
Nothing seemingly screams Christmas less than the Twilight of the Gods – aka Ragnarök – but Morrison brilliantly uses the world-ending backdrop to communicate his message. And that context is only part of the story's framework. Lunar civil wars and cosmic clocks further richen the setting, without cluttering it and obscuring the overall meaning. Like his multiverse-spanning DC works like Final Crisis and Multiversity, the surroundings are merely a big-budget production given to stories that are ultimately character-driven.
Just as few writers could convincingly imagine such grandiosity, few artists beyond Mora could bring it to life so vibrantly. Mora doesn't dazzle readers with complex linework or intricate detail. Instead, he largely renders his characters and scenery with understated and delicate simplicity. When he needs to convey magnificence, he does so with his layouts and his own imagination, further embellishing everything with the brilliance of his colors. When Morrison's story shifts down from galaxy-spanning battles to the comparative simplicity of the sad sight of a snowman melting in the sun, Mora likewise ratchets it down, with startling effectiveness.
Ultimately, it's not the sprawling, far-reaching magnitude of Morrison and Mora's story that make it so wonderful, although it certainly elevates it. No, it's the plight of the crying snowman, and just who this character actually turns out to be that transforms the story into a true tale of the Christmas spirit. As Klaus himself states, and as many children know, Santa knows who's naughty or nice.
But the characters who have been decidedly naughty – if not outright evil – aren't simply candidates for a chunk of coal. Instead, in Klaus' mind, they're candidates for redemption. And who, upon realization of their mistakes, don't seek the gift of redemption? And in a Christmas setting, who better to deliver such a gift than Santa Claus himself?
There's Christmas magic in Morrison and Mora's story, and while the creative team wraps the story in epic and far-reaching trappings, at its core it's actually a reinforcement of the essence of Santa Claus. Klaus sees the good in everyone – even those who seek to destroy existence, and it doesn't get much naughtier than that. And that a second chance stands to transform those who want it into something better.
Klaus and the Crying Snowman is pretty typical Grant Morrison, but with a festive twist. For Klaus fans, Christmas has come a little early. Like Christmas, though, it's unfortunate it only comes once a year.