Looking for something to get you in the holiday mood in the run-up to Christmas? Well, don’t you worry I have found a fantastically festive Christmas comic which is chocked full of elves, Santas, presents, and all the gore and action of a Liam Neeson movie. This one might take a bit of explaining but much like Die-Hard, The List does manage to capture that essential feeling of Christmas but in its own action-packed way, with the right balance of sophisticated self-aware humor to keep it lighthearted and over-the-top action to scratch that adventurous itch. Let’s get into this.
The List, Written by James Stimpson with artwork from Liana Recchione follows Salvadore one of many Santa’s who make up the ‘Santa Squad’ a crack team of people who were chosen by Jesus Christ himself to bring holiday cheer to children all around the world. The difference with Sal is instead of handing out nicely wrapped gifts he hands out cold hard justice to those who would harm or put children in danger. Being ex-SAS before being recruited by The Lord, Sal knows a thing or two about how to handle unsavory characters and that really shines through in the artwork, especially near the start of the issue. There honestly isn’t too much to spoil story wise as this issue spends most of its time explain the Santa Squad and its members but a cliffhanger ending begins to set up a far more personal and mysterious story for Sal. At first, this might seem like a really silly idea that sounded fun in your head but in practice doesn’t quite hit the mark but the opposite is true for The List. The issue is packed full of ‘on-the-nose’ moments and humor which not only feels relevant but proves that the issue doesn’t take itself too seriously. That being said The List has some genuinely well written moments that prove its more than just a joke comic through and through.
There’s quite a couple of characters to talk about here but we’ll start with the star, Sal. He’s a little older than other members of the squad and so looks the most like the conventional Farther Christmas we’re all used to. He has a little ‘Grumpy Uncle’ vibe to him but more in a comedic sense than an annoying one. He’s a badass special forces Vet who runs around dishing out exactly what the scumbags of the world deserve all whilst doing it in a Santa suit. What’s not to love about him? Next up we have Cedrick, a younger Santa described by Sal himself as an “Arse of a man” and he honestly isn’t wrong. He has a serious distaste for Sal under fear of keeping the Santa Squad a secret and I’m interested to see what direction he takes all in the aim of trying to keep his fellow Santas safe. Giovana is the final Santa we meet in issue #1 and she is the only one who really talks to Sal. More of a Mrs. Clause, Giovana gave off a lovable grandmother vibe throughout and I really liked her interactions with Sal.
Next up is Jesus Christ and at first, I wasn’t sure how well he’d work. Including real-life religion in comics can be a risky business but here he was used sparingly and was part of one of the best jokes in the issue. He wasn’t over-used or made to be the butt of every joke in the issue but instead used as a genuinely clever plot device and was handled well enough. Finally, we have the elves, Santas little helpers or in this case his support workers. Sal has his own personal struggles to go through and the team of elves really help him through those issues. My absolute favorite had to be Derek, mainly for his “Take no shit” attitude. Here’s hoping we get a cameo from Rudolph or some of the other reindeer in the second issue.
The List has artwork not too dissimilar to that of Graphic Novels and it works wonders considering the fairly large amount of violence and action we see at the start of the issue. A really clever technique was used which emulates the classic “Blood splatter on the camera” technique we see in some movies and it surprisingly works really well here too. The entire comic isn’t just overflowing with blood and gore, however, and the bright oranges, reds, and greens really sell the Christmas setting especially in the second half of the issue when we are introduced to the elves and Sal’s fellow Santas. That was a blend that I didn’t think would work out too well but it is executed nicely here.
Adapted for the Big Screen
A bad-ass cross over between Santa and someone like Slade Wilson who saves unfortunate children at Christmas time and looking incredibly cool whilst doing it. Need I say More? Yes, I think The List would make a pretty epic Christmas movie but if your looking for a cool comic to read over the festive season look no further.
If you are interested in checking out The List you can do so over on their website at thelistcomicbook.co.uk their Comixology store: comixcentral.com/products/the-list-1/ or their Comixology page: http://bit.ly/2SKm7Kq and don’t forget to check back here at GVN for all the latest reviews and news updates.