Review: Joe Hill’s ‘Wraith: Welcome To Christmasland’ #4

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A thrilling nail-biter, “Wraith: Welcome To Christmasland” #4 never lets its readers off its hooks. Based on Joe Hill’s critically acclaimed novel, “NOS4A2,” readers will surely be drawn to this new breed of vampire known as Charlie Manx. If you loved the novel, you must definitely get your hands on this prequel.

WRITTEN BY: Joe Hill
ART BY: Charles Paul Wilson III
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: February 26th, 2013

Three hardened criminals have escaped from the law and found help from an unlikely source. Afraid to get caught, the three fugitives locked themselves to the backseat of a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith. As they pass by the numerous police blockades, the Wraith driver, Charlie Manx, is actually taking them on a terrifying ride to Hell. Known only as Christmasland, they will find a place to hide, a chance to redeem themselves, and meet their own deaths. Whatever is inside Christmasland doesn’t want them to leave.

This is where writer Joe Hill lets loose on the scares and shocks as Christmasland springs to life. Now we actually see the bloody carnage that goes on behind the steel gates. Hill uses the themes of Christmas and turns it into a gory bloodbath. Charlie Manx’s diabolic minions were previously innocent children who died under mysterious circumstances. Now that these children have no souls, evil can run amok with no morals. Readers will be asking themselves, who’s worse? Charlie or his band of evil children?

Hill also manages to take on a topical issue through the back-story of criminal, Llewellyn. Forced to take matters into his own hands, Llewellyn went after the hospital and doctor who turned down his dying son because he had no healthcare. With an honest message at its core, Hill really hits home with his social commentary about universal healthcare. Though he is guilty of his crimes, Llewellyn walks the line between redemption and punishment as he pays for his sins at Christmasland.

Artist Charles Paul Wilson III illustrates with ease the devilish smiles of Charlie Manx’s evil children. Using the theme of Christmas, the evil children dress up as the Nutcracker, the Mad Hatter, firemen, and doctors. Letting the blood flow in the panels, Manx’s minions play operation on a prison guard and chop off his leg while he’s screaming. I know the children are supposed to be vampires but it’s still shocking when one of the criminals pulls out his gun on one of these kids.

I particularly liked the detail to Llewellyn’s character design. Notice in the opening pages, Llewellyn’s eye is smeared in blood. Look closely at how the bloodstain drips from Llewellyn’s eye as if he is crying. This is Wilson’s way of symbolizing that Llewellyn has never stopped crying for his dead son.

Horror fans will enjoy every single page of “Wraith: Welcome To Christmasland” #4. If you haven’t bought the novel yet, this comic will make you run out and get it.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis