Written by James Stimpson
Illustrated by Liana Recchione
Sal works for Santa Squad, an elite organisation of Secret Santas and their Elves who take care of Christmas each year; from delivering presents to saving children, they’ve got it covered. In charge of Santa Squad is Jesus Christ. Yes that one, it’s the celebration of his birth after all. Sal and Jesus don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. Jesus wants Sal to understand that helping the few is better than helping none but Sal thinks he can do more and vehemently disagrees with Jesus’ statement of “Help them too much and they come to rely upon you”.
First of all I don’t celebrate Christmas I celebrate Channukah so what I see here with the exception of Jesus are things that I found to be an interesting take. As long as the myth of Kris Kringle has been around we’ve wondered how he’s able to get around the world and deliver to so many children? This is one take on that and I have to admit I really really like the way these two present their option. Much like a clandestine society with rules and regulations or say the Illuminati or any of those style of groups. I love that idea and I love seeing how it’s set-up and run. Also though I question the presence of Jesus I can let that go.
I like the way that this book is structured and the opening is pretty magnificent. We see a lot of things happening here and Santa is a freakin badass as he’s doing it. Trust me when I say you don’t wanna be a paedophile or do anything to hurt kids while he’s around. At first it does seem like the opening is out of place and full of things that don’t make sense but as you read and begin to really understand what’s happening it really is almost heroically sinister. When was the last time a character made you think they were heroically sinister as a descriptive?
I like the characterisation here as well. Once we get into the happenings at the North Pole centre that really kicks up a notch. After all we get to meet a bunch of elves of which small clusters are assigned to each member to help them be as effective as they possibly can. You need to throw any preconceived notions you might have about the North Pole and all who reside there because this doesn’t and shouldn’t fit any of the previous moulds.
Let’s talk about the interiors here now shall we. I do like the way that page layouts are utilised they aren’t standard and I like how it works for the illustrations. I will say this there needs to be more utilisation of backgrounds. I don’t like all that solid colours or white space everywhere. I do like the way that linework is utilised here. There are some wonderful strong and bold linework happening and to balance that out the more subtle work we see, and a lot of that goes into what little backgrounds we see that work so damn well. The work really does have a way of bringing out some wonderful emotion and feelings. That Halo on Jesus aside everyone have these great independent looks to them which match their personalities.
The characters such as the elves add so much depth and dimension to the book that I wasn’t expecting and it is hella well done. Now the squad that we meet is filled with personalities and at least one that isn’t so nice. I do like what this adds to the story as well, after all what would life be like if there were no jealousy and rivalry at work. For folks who are doing their own thing on their own this is an exceptional book. This is why we need to support indie creators so they can continue to put out books like this. This is the voice of people who are leading the next generation of comics.
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