Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Jeff Parker, with art by Michele Bandini, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Pat Brosseau. As vampires invade Gotham, Batman calls on the help of an old, festive friend to defeat them.
What’s instantly obvious and surprising in this issue is the tone. Instead of being a festive, jolly Christmas adventure in the style of Adam West’s Batman, this one works on mythology, folklore, and even horror. Santa is a monster hunter, chasing vampires, demons, and other creatures of the night across the world. It leads to a really fun supernatural plot as vampires sweep into the city. It’s instantly engaging with moves quickly, dragging in many of the most important parts of the comic quickly.
The fight scenes feature some amazing confrontations between awesome vampires and underprepared vigilantes. But there is much more to the story as well, with a backstory for Santa that is engrossing and a blending of magic and monsters that extends beyond vampires. It takes the cold and creepiness that can come from Christmas nights, as seen in movies such as Krampus, and brings that into this story.
The characters and the dialogue are phenomenal. The darker tone actually makes the book funnier, as the shock that comes from the younger and even many of the older heroes is brilliant to see. The biggest talking point of the comic is Kris, also known as Santa. Parker explores the man terrifically, making Santa not just canonical but extremely cool as well. He’s deathly serious, an immaculate monster hunter, and yet courteous and a bit of a showoff, too.
There is a pretty extensive cast of DC characters added as well. Batman, Robin, and Zatanna are brought in very early on, with even more included as the vampire hunt traverses across the city. Again, the formality of Batman is superb as it fits nicely with the bewilderment of Damian and others.
The art is gorgeous. The bada**ification of Santa continues into his visuals. The coat and the beard have been altered so he is more representative of Snow White’s Huntsman than an avuncular figure. The monsters are also fantastic, brilliantly designed with a touch of folklore to their creation. That is something that both writer and artist tap into, using mythology from Norse and other Scandinavian legends to craft the storytelling.
The facial expressions and the body language are conducive to so much of the humor and fun that can be had inside this book, with so much exaggeration and drama. Some of the fight scenes have unexpected brutality using weapons based around the holidays as well. The costumes for the superheroes are flawless under Bandini’s style, but special mention has to be given to Zatanna’s costume. There is a festive upgrade to her outfit that is simply stunning and suits the style of the character immaculately.
The colors are also fantastic. Set in the Gotham nighttime, the blue of the sky allows for the lights to shine brighter. The street lights reflect off of the snowy ground, whilst the vibrant red of Santa’s uniform stands out superbly. The lettering is dynamic and effortlessly easy to read.
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #1 is surprisingly evergreen. Whilst the main character is literally the symbol of Christmas and thick snow covers the Gotham ground, turning it into a monster-hunting horror comic gives the adventure the ability to be read any time of the year. Santa himself is a Viking warrior and an unbelievably awesome one of that. The festive features have been adapted and altered so much that an ongoing series featuring this character and his battles could last well until next Christmas.
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #1
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #1 is surprisingly evergreen. Whilst the main character is literally the symbol of Christmas and thick snow covers the Gotham ground, turning it into a monster-hunting horror comic gives the adventure the ability to be read any time of the year.