Matt Johnson

Klaus #6 and #7 (of 7) – Comic Review

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The return of Klaus.  THE FINALE OF KLAUS.  The end of the series (for now).  Is it triumphant or does it fall flat?  Read on to find out.

See my review of previous issue of Klaus here (includes links to reviews of all other issues).

MAR161221
Klaus 7

Title: Klaus #6/#7

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Dan Mora

Cover Artist: Dan Mora

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Release Date: June 15 and Aug 17, 2016

I’m behind the curve here, and I apologize.  First of all, in my last review I thought there were only 6 issues of Klaus for some reason.  Imagine my excitement when I realized there are actually 7.  Second, I realize it’s been quite a while since that review happened.  Here I am posting this final review after the finale release.  What was I thinking?  How could something like this be allowed to happen?!  Sometimes, dear readers, life gets in the way.  It won’t happen again.  Let’s get back to it now, shall we?

First things first, let’s talk about the covers.  One of the more striking things about the Klaus series is how powerful and flawlessly executed the cover art is.  These last two issues are no exception.  Issue 6 is both lucid and tense, a pensive old man and fanged, pupil-less wolves snarling as they carry a speeding Klaus, sword in hand.  Issue 7 has our titular hero standing, bloodied, battered, obviously ready for the final showdown with the beast subtly revealed in the flames of the backdrop.  This is grim determination and it lets the reader know they’re in for a fight before we even crack the comic open.

Once you crack the first page open your eyes observe a wonderful return to the quality and detail of issues #1-4.  Where #5 felt slightly rushed, artistically, the pages of the final two are lush and beautiful.  Once again, nearly every pane is its own unique work of art worthy of being framed individually.  The palette retains the fiery earth and orange to show toil and evil and cold blues and reds to show the desolation of the world Klaus is trying to return to a better state.  The final issue also reintroduces some of the hypnotic pastels of some of the surreal scenes in previous issues.  Klaus awakens with new power and glowing, lighter tones represent the new energy that consumes as he mounts his most intense battle thus far.  The issues also retain the cinematic framing of the series.  I lost track of how many times I had to stop and take in the panes and their obviously calculated arrangement.  Mora continues to use very filmic devices here, from sharp foregrounds with a blurred main subject in the background to extreme close-ups, to flawless use of punch-in’s and framing adjustments.  The art remains kinetic and intense.  It’s rare to find a set of panels on a page that can make the reader hold their breath in tension, but there are multiple instances of this here.

One last note on the art before moving on.  Pages 16, 18, 26, and the final page of issue #7.  Dear god.  Dan Mora, you are truly a master of your craft.

The story-line in the last two issues of Klaus is probably the most well executed of the entire series.  It brings all of the lead-in elements from the previous issues and drives everything to where it needs to be.  We finally see the reveal of the creature lurking in the coal mines.  Klaus loses his battle and then returns as the man the legends tell of.  We see the Baron grasp at, and lose all his dreams and, in a moment of tragic humanity, realize his culpability in all of the horrible things happening to those around him.  Perhaps best of all we see Jonas, the kid who could easily have remained portrayed simply as a vile brat, reminiscent of Joffrey from Game of Thrones, show that he was, in fact, just a confused kid after all.  He becomes a real character and shines as he travels through the final events of the story.

The final two issues are violent and intense, but also really make all of the characters even more real.  This is the true magic of Klaus.  Throughout the series the pacing, story, characters have all been incredibly well put together.  The elements are all interesting on their own, and there’s enough stock world-pieces that a story with no humanity could’ve still been good.  Klaus, however, moves beyond that into great.  The big ragey Viking-looking guy has a soul and a spirit, and even manages to find his smile at the end.  The creature from below isn’t just some empty thing, it has motivation and history of its own.  The evil Baron is an evil baron, but he had reason to become so, misguided though it may have been.  Weaved into all this is joy, sorrow, and a thin story of lost love that ends up resolving beautifully.

One of the really great things about issue #7 is how quickly it moves from intense darkness and violence to joyful celebration within a page-turn and then, within a few more pages, to a solemn ending that may or may not have caused this reader to choke up a little bit.  #6 and #7 are a solid, tense, uphill battle that, without warning, kicks your feels right in the feels.

Klaus is done for now, it’s planned run of 7 issues completed.  I have gushed about this series from the moment I heard about issue one and now, here at the end, I still hold it in the absolute highest regard.  Klaus #1-7 is one of the best comic series I have encountered which, with a team like Morrison and Mora should not be a huge surprise, but is still a pleasant one.  Klaus probably isn’t for everyone, due to some pretty intense sequences and some violence, but if you can handle a little comic blood and demonology, I would recommend this without hesitation for anyone looking to experience a great story.

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