You’d be forgiven for thinking that Santa Claus vs. The Nazis was just a one note joke pitting the ultimate evil against the good. However thanks to a well rounded script and some excellent artwork, it is so much more than than high concept title might suggest, becoming a mix of throwback World War 2 action but with a genuine heart-warming core.
Writer: Ben Dickson
Artist: Gavin Mitchell
Price: £2.99 from ComiXology
Our rating: [star rating=”4.5″]
Originally appearing in the digital pages of Aces Weekly Ben Dickson and Gav Mitchell’s Santa Claus vs. The Nazis has been given a print debut courtesy of Markosia Press. Retaining the landscape format of the digital version, but with a few added in spreads to help flesh out some of the scenes. Our story sees Lapland invaded by the evil General Hundhausen in order to get control of Santa’s present making machinery – which the Nazis want to weoponize. As Santa is held captive the only people who can save him are grumpy elf Reggie and rescued slave boy Peter, who manage to escape the Nazis, and seek help from the Allies. But before they can be part of the final assault, they are sent on a boot camp run by a rather familiar looking female captain called Windsor who gets them fit and ready for a Dirty Dozen style raid to rescue Santa and the other elves.
Despite the festive setting, it reads more like a vintage War comic such as Commando or Battle, with it’s simple mix of good vs. evil and camaraderie on the battle field. In the current climate this feels remarkably original as there are not a lot of other creators making good old fashioned war stories like this right now (we can only really think of Assault on Fortress Doom as a contemporary). However what makes it more than just another boys own adventure is that Dickson manage to instil the whole thing with a real heart, thanks to a really well- crafted relationship between Peter and Reggie. He also doesn’t shy away from some darker elements, especially the scenes at the beginning when Peter is beaten and tortured by the Nazis which does a great job of making them genuinely villainous and him a much more sympathetic and relatable hero.
The artwork from Mitchell is also spot on, with a cross hatch style that feels very traditional and definitely suits the story being told. With this being an older work, we have seen his style evolve and get slicker via The Pride and Stiffs, but his work here has a real class to it and he reminds everyone who reads this that he is definitely someone who deserves bigger and better things.
So whether you’re looking for that ultimate festive treat, or an antidote to the schmaltz of the season, Santa Claus vs Nazis is a perfect read as it manages to be both exciting and action-packed, but also heart-warming and genuine. And as such should be top of Santa’s list for any comic fan this Christmas!