Klaus 5 of 6 – Comic Review
Klaus returns to the present in another action-packed and beautifully illustrated epic. All of the final pieces fall into place and the stage is set for a tense finale.
Title: Klaus #5
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: 5.4.16
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Klaus #5 is my favorite issue by far. I might have said that with each new issue as it releases but where #4 seems to have left some of the art slightly unpolished, #5 kicks the story, action, and visuals up in a major way. We begin at a point where the major pieces and players are starting to show the cards they’ve been building throughout the series, and end right as they’re all about to hit the table.
Let’s start with the cover art, shall we? After last month’s slightly generic cover Klaus really outdoes itself here. We’re back to dark, dark palette, blacks, greys, reds, and an angry looking Klaus grimacing back at a looming demonic looking creature – perhaps a Krampus.
Inside the issue, the art is also a full return to form that I’d dare say surpasses any of the previous issues – and that’s no small statement. Klaus #5 marks a return to beautiful crimson against deep blues, bright positive-energy kinds of colors, and wicked burgundies under cold light. There are ghostly wisps of smoke and poison, and evil looking fire and blood. The framing and layout are all superb, with several of the panes making me stop and take a seriously long look so I could take in all of the subtle elements.
This issue of Klaus opens with Lady Dagmar and the young Jonas having a quiet conversation. It’s one of the few moments where Jonas isn’t totally repugnant and his art reflects this change. He’s very human – a scared little boy rather than evil incarnate. The two are interrupted by Magnus who, conversely, is pale and exaggerated, his facial features reaching classic Joker proportions at times. Pause here and look at the pane where he enters the room. The red against black backdrop, the Dutch angle, and the reflection on the marble. All perfectly menacing and off-kilter. And then, just like that, we cut to him explaining himself and the craziness in his face. The light is cold and sharp, casting deep shadows on gaunt features and startled reactions from his one-time-loving wife. Magnus is worried because the king is coming and the creature he’s been consorting with to gain/keep his power has told him the visit is not a friendly one. Magnus wields a massive sword, intimating that he and Lady Dagmar have now entered a kill-or-be-killed state of existence.
We cut to Klaus adventuring, delivering presents as deftly as he delivers violence. The action and motion in these panes are excellent and, as always, is delivered bloodily, but with a good sense of underlying humor. Klaus meets the miners and gives them Christmas Eve off, telling them their children have presents waiting for them. The ragged band ask him to lead them and are rebuffed. Klaus exists to bring hope and light, not to lead. The message is enough, though, and the rebels light a fire that signals the start of their revolution.
**Caution, mild spoilers ahead**
Klaus continues his deliveries and we see him being led toward a trap. It seems as though he might be aware of the trap and you hope he’ll throw a quick quip out and dodge away successfully, but no…Morrison is not that boring a storyteller. He knows better how to keep the reader interested. And so Klaus walks headlong into a blatant trap and fights his way through seemingly insurmountable odds while, all the while, cut-scenes show the townspeople beginning to revolt and surrounding the castle. Here are more gorgeous panes, from a tiny Klaus running and jumping across the page, to a very superhero style shot of him perched on a rooftop looking across a massive divide into a tower full of guards with magical arrows. As he fights his way to escape, Klaus travels a very long distance in a very short time, crashing and shredding all the way. In the process, he is injured by one of the magical arrows and begins to fade, dying.
A boy from town finds the broken Klaus and drags him to the edge of town, where they are assisted again by the white wolf. Magnus and gang gear up for the hunt, tasting bloody victory. We end with Magnus grimacing evilly setting the final stage, saying “Now. Shall we proceed to the inevitable conclusion?” Ugh. Chills.
Goddamn this issue is good. Each time I begin a new Klaus I find myself completely excited and engrossed, buzzy even. This is one of the few comics to have ever literally given me chills, and this issue did it to me a few different times. The art is in a category of it’s own, truthfully. Each panel is masterfully illustrated in a way that is both cinematic, and surreal in a way only a comic can pull off. It’s obvious Mora is a master of light and composition and he’s pulled out all the stops in issue #5. THERE’S ONLY ONE MORE ISSUE TO GO NOW, and it’s going to be awesome.