It's that time of year again, the time of year where we decorate the Christmas tree, find amazing recipes for gingerbread cookies, and watch holiday movies on repeat. It's also the time of year where we get to enjoy a new story in Grant Morrison and Dan Mora's delightful Klaus series, and the duo decided to do something a little different for this year's entry: Klaus and the Life and Times of Joe Christmas. This time around the story is told without any dialogue, but that doesn't keep it from hitting all the right notes and pulling hard on your heartstrings.
The lack of dialogue doesn't hinder this Klaus story in the slightest, and that's partly because of its grounding in a very personal story revolving around Klaus and Joe Christmas. The story is structured as if someone is flipping through a calendar with each page containing a piece to the overall puzzle, one that you don't really put together until the very last page.
However, once you do you assemble the narrative, you see the earlier pages in a completely different light, and it's a genuinely touching story that showcases the loyalty and compassion these pair shares. Morrison shines a light on those traits with a surprising amount of humor and action, and you'll recognize several homages to pop culture staples when you least expect them.
This story only works because of the stunning visuals from artist Dan Mora who takes advantage of all the extra real estate on the page without any word balloons. Mora delivers a tour de force throughout the issue, creating fantastical action sequences throughout several eras, and each one carries a host of tiny details that help bring them all to life.
That said, it's the way Mora brings the very personal narrative to life that is most impressive. Each page reveals another layer of Joe Christmas' life, and each one of those layers adds a new wrinkle to the relationship between Joe and Klaus, but that's not the only relationship in the spotlight.
One of the highlights of the book is how it shines a light on Joe's family and loved ones as well, both of the human and animal variety. One of those, in particular, is a smaller story within the issue, but it's no less powerful, and Mora makes those smaller moments memorable with a warmth that comes through in every panel.
Klaus and the Life and Times of Joe Christmas puts a fresh spin on a holiday tradition, and the absence of dialogue doesn't make the story any less impactful. That's a testament to the team who made it happen, delivering a story that makes each moment count with a delightful mix of humor and heart. If you're looking for something that tugs on the heartstrings in all the right ways, look no further than Klaus.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Dan Mora
Design by Scott Newman
Cover by Dan Mora