Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #7 – Desperation Highway
The concluding issue of Joe Hill’s limited series Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland tells the story of the man that helped create Charlie Manx.
Pick up Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #7 (of 7) or Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #7 (of 7) (Subscription Variant). See the variant cover below.
Joe Hill’s comic prequel to his novel NOS4A2 has been a blend of classic horror and children’s folklore. Up until this point Wraith has been following the story of Charlie Manx, a psychotic chauffeur who carts little children to Christmasland in his possessed Rolls-Royce. Christmasland, created by Manx after being swindled into it’s purchase, is a lot like Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island where too much of a good thing could turn you into a monster. The children here are evil little black eyed sprites with razor sharp teeth who play games like Scissors, which as you may have guessed involves stabbing. Manx, who himself, was once a Christmas loving child now “rescues” children who feel neglected and brings them to Christmasland where they forever remain young. In Wraith #7, we follow the story of man who goes by many names, one being Nicolas LeMark. Nicolas who has experienced much tradgedy in his life now spends his time swindling the rich. To LeMark’s own surprise he finds himself on the straight and narrow, having settled down with a wife and kids. But as we all know, old habits are hard to break. After more misfortune plagues his life, LeMark works one last fraud only to find himself face to face with Mr. Charlie Manx.
Wraith has been one of my most favorite reads of the year, one I anxiously look forward to. Joe Hill writes solid characters and his narratives creep up your spin and keeps you from falling asleep. Christmasland is a great juxtaposition from the sugary sweet symbolisim the holiday currently holds in our minds. C.P. Wilson’s art rendering is so chilling you will shudder at the sight of his evil children that occupy Hill’s world. This issue left much of Wilson’s art absent, reading more like a novel. In fact, Wraith #7’s layout reminded me of those braggadocious Christmas Letters you receive from family members you hardly know. Still, while I missed C.P’s illustrations I enjoyed reading Joe Hill’s perfect encapsulation of desperation and the way he creates tension and terror. If you aren’t already reading Wraith, I suggest picking up the trade when it releases. If you don’t, Charlie Manx may come and bring you to Christmasland himself.