This week’s best new comics are all about two of the biggest things on people’s minds around this time of year: Santa Claus, and the inescapable effects of being increasingly connected to our digital devices.
At what point do you think Santa’s elves all realized that the demand for traditional, non-electronic toys was going to keep going way down—and that if they wanted to be able to keep up with the changing ideas about Christmas, they’d have to learn to start building cell phones and tablets?
Klaus and the Crying Snowman
Everyone loves a good Christmas fable where a terrible person learns the error of their ways with the help of a little holiday spirit and a visit from Santa Claus. But it’s not often that these stories involve epic conflicts in space with ancient gods hellbent on stealing energy from the sun.
If you took Troy Miller’s Jack Frost and tossed it in a blender with Thor: Ragnarok, you’d end up with a story something like Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s Klaus and the Crying Snowman. Sam, a confused snowman, awakens one winter morning melting and, in his panic, stumbles across the path of Klaus, one of the world’s many living Christmas-themed deities responsible for making the holiday possible.
As much as Sam wants to give into the more existential issues weighing on his mind, he quickly gets sucked into Klaus’ war against horrific, living Christmas trees that herald the impending arrival of the Norse deity Surtr. Morra’s illustrations are dynamic and bright—keeping the action high-octane while also leaving ample room for the comic’s more emotionally heavy moments to really resonate with you. It’s a fun, wild, one-shot of a comic and honestly, it reads like the kind of story that should become a Christmas classic. (Grant Morrison, Dan Morra, Boom Studios)
Image’s Hardcore—from Robert Kirkman, Andy Diggle, Alessandro Vitti, and Adriano Lucas—takes some of the very serious moral questions about drone warfare and spins them into an interesting tale about the next generation military conflict. As part of the Hardcore program, Agent Drake works as a specially-trained “pilot” who hijacks the bodies of unsuspecting (though nefarious) villains and uses them as stealth weapons to take out even more dangerous war criminals and ne’er-do-wells.
As questionable as the practice is on its face, Drake and the other operatives working for Hardcore reason that their methods lead to far lower levels of collateral damage compared to traditional drone strikes. But as is always the case with cutting-edge tech and those deploying it, their morals are...dubious. (Robert Kirkman, Andy Diggle, Alessandro Vitti, Image Comics)
The psiots of Valiant’s Harbinger series have been through hell and back. First thought to be the world’s greatest hope for the future and now turned into social pariahs by humans who don’t understand them, most of the psiots are doing everything to stay under the radar in hopes of living lives as close to “normal” as possible.
But for Amanda McKee, a powerful psiot with the ability to control technology with her mind, merely running for her life was never enough. When she found herself living in a world that was actively hunting down her fellow gifted people, she fought back—and while her actions were heroic, they came with devastating consequences that turned her into public enemy number one.
In writer Vita Ayala and artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín’s Livewire, Amanda’s trying to make amends to the people she cares about for the danger she put them in during her pursuit for justice. At the same time, however, she’s steadfast in her belief that she’s got to do whatever it takes to keep psiots safe. Because if she won’t, who will? (Vita Ayala, Raúl Allén, Patricia Martín, Valiant)
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