This title is a bit misleading as Santa isn’t in the story a lot, but he is important and there are lots of Nazis. The plot in a nutshell is the Nazis take over Santa’s workshop but two of his workers escape and with British help liberate the workshop. It’s the journey of the two workers- one chief elf and the other a former slave that is the highlight of the book. The chief elf Reggie borderline swears, is brave, loyal but is initially annoyed with the former slave Peter. His annoyance is understandable as Peter constantly makes mistakes.
The change in Reggie’s attitude to Peter Is one of the more heart-warming parts of the book. One of my favourite examples being when Reggie talks about fear. Peter has the unique power of being able to understand Rudolph but apart from that he has little going for him before the invasion of Lapland. During the course of the story Peter feels fear, sadness, alienation, guilt, and anger all before he becomes a hero.
This story however has more highlights than the two main characters. The portrayal of Santa as reluctant to get involved in the war and his interactions with Churchill are well done. The desperation of the British is felt throughout the story and even though you suspect there will be a happy ending, I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were a few more deaths, even of main characters. Now onto the art.
The shadowing in the panels reminded me of Mignola’s work but the colours involved, and the cartoonish art style suit the story well. In fact, the art reminds me of other British indie comics I’ve read over the years. Perhaps the artist’s greatest strength is his facial expressions and eyes as he conveys a lot of emotions and the dialogue could be cut down and you’d still understand the plot.
Overall, this is a great comic to read in the Christmas season. There’s great character arcs, wartime spirit and the art suits the story and its emotions perfectly. David Jenkins