Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #2 is published by DC Comics, written by Jeff Parker, art by Michele Bandini and Trevor Hairsine, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Pat Brosseau. The heroes learn more about Santa’s history with Krampus as more heroes join the fight against vampires.
The plot of this issue continues to be delightful. Blending the festive with the folklore again, the issue chooses to slow down for some time. But the comic is exciting and interesting from start to finish. The decrease in pace is largely for the benefit of the exposition. Parker creatively implements this, able to dip into the past whilst still including the heroes in the storytelling. It digs into the legend of Krampus in a way that adapts the mythology and creates its own version.
It also adds depth to the relationship between the legendary figures. Instead of purely good and evil, there’s more context. The comic continues to fill the story with more than just Christmas joy, as there is still supernatural monster hunting at the heart of the book. The second half of the comic comes back to the vampires while introducing more DC characters into the series. It’s a huge surprise and adds variety to the book, exploring how superpowers can affect the bloodsuckers, with some big guns entering the comic in the final page.
The dialogue is fantastic. During the first part of the book, where much of the story takes place within the backstory of Santa, the exposition is not overloaded with an abundance of word balloons, and yet it is extremely effective. By the end of it, the understanding of the entire situation has altered. This issue also cements the comic’s place within the official canon, using recent events to explain how Krampus has returned. The relationship between the hunter and his supposed nemesis is fascinating. It supposes that their existence needs each other, like Loki and Thor. They have always been opposing sides of the same coin, but not to the level where one is killing. The journey of how they happened is interesting and gives the plot more options for how to conclude.
The one part of Santa’s personality that is similar to his classic persona is his awareness of people’s belief in him and Christmas. There’s a little line for each hero that is just a brief glimpse into their personal lives and their childhood. When that happens, it breaks through the hardened shell that most of the Bat Family have built up. Likewise, the little digs and pieces of banter are reminders that the group is a family, even if they are disjointed.
The art is glorious. The hero-on-vampire action is phenomenal. Bandidi’s art is stunningly clean and crisp. The designs of the superhero costumes, including Santa’s, favours space over excessive details. The exception to this is a wide portrayal of the Batcave, which is jaw-dropping in its presentation. Even beneath the cowls and domino masks, the ability to create emotions is phenomenal. The vampires are both cartoony and cool, bestial in nature. Krampus is perhaps the most detailed design in the whole issue. The demonic face is terrifying and remarkably expressive. With the additional heroes, the battle later in the chapter is sensational. Each of the newcomers gets a moment to shine, presented in almost an entire splash page to themselves. The slaying of the vampires is committed in a way that younger audiences can enjoy, as there isn’t excessive blood and gore.
The journey into the history of Krampus and Santa is illustrated by Hairsine, which gives the comic a more medieval quality. There is much more crosshatching, which adds more intricate details. Krampus looks more frightening in this art style, with more teeth and increased intensity in his face. His abilities are creepy, including a staff that creates thorny vines and branches to wrap around victims. Likewise, Santa’s outfit looks scruffier and fluffier due to the details.
The colors are gorgeous. The nights are dark, with a blood-red tint starting to form in the sky. But then there is a brilliant vibrancy to the more extravagant costumes, especially Robin and Nightwing. Sinclair alters the colors in the flashback to fit the location and the era. The wooden buildings are lighter than in Gotham, tapering off into pure white at the top of the page. Then, at the bottom is a mixture of pleasant browns. This naturalistic landscape is then walked upon by superheroes dressed in blue and red, making them stand out like a sore thumb. The lettering is fantastic. Krampus has his own custom word balloon with bigger and bolder text than the rest, insinuating a louder voice.
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #2 is one of the best Christmas comics ever. This series has the depth to be able to be read at any time of the year, no matter the season. If it was just Santa and Krampus, it could be locked into a vault and only accessible from December 1st. But it is also a superhero vs. vampires comic featuring several of DC’s biggest names against the undead horde. The links to folklore have strengthened further with the adventure into the past, whilst the present is closer to monster hunting than mythology. There is not a tree, bauble, or elf in sight. The ancient spirit of Christmas forms a spine and soul to the book, but it doesn’t seek to undermine the hardcore elements of the action or the plot.
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #2 is available where comics are sold.
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #2
Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #2 is one of the best Christmas comics ever. This series has the depth to be able to be read at any time of the year, no matter the season. The ancient spirit of Christmas forms a spine and soul to the book, but it doesn’t seek to undermine the hardcore elements of the action or the plot.