The time to prepare for the Christmas season feels like it is getting earlier and earlier with each passing year. We weren’t even at Halloween before seeing Christmas things. Now entering November in the comic book world we see that also happening. One of the biggest titles is coming from the minds of James Tynion and Josh Hixson named The Deviant. Based on the preview Image Comics released for The Deviant #1 this series is set to present Santa Clause as a horror character. We got the chance to check out an early copy of the first issue. Find out how The Deviant #1 turned out with our advance review.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Joshua Hixson
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
“As snow falls over Milwaukee in 1972, a blood-stained Santa Claus commits unimaginable atrocities against young men. Fifty years later, a troubled young writer interviews this so-called “Deviant Killer,” who still maintains his innocence from behind bars. And as Christmas approaches once again, the past returns, wielding a sharpened ax.
Eisner-winning writer JAMES TYNION IV (W0RLDTR33, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH) and acclaimed artist JOSHUA HIXSON (The Plot, Children of the Woods) unite for a pitch-black holiday horror story.” – Image Comics
The opening of any story is an important tone setter. Not just for the kind of story the reader to expect but how to experience it as well. That’s exactly what the opening of The Deviant #1 establishes. James Tynion and Joshua Hixson make sure the attention is as much on the way characters are acting to the words they say. It’s all done in a way that establishes this expectation as no thought boxes or bubbles are utilized.
Trust is the biggest takeaway of The Deviant #1. Both in the trust Tynion and Hixson have in each other as a creative team and the reader to understand what is going on. The voice of various characters are established as much in the words they are speaking to their reactions, or lack thereof. Hitting that tone makes the way we see two timelines utilized to explain the foundation of the story work in a cohesive way.
This especially works for the main antagonist of the story being a killer dressed up as Santa Clause. The entire presentation of this Santa Clause killer is terrifying. Tynion and Hixson do an excellent job at creating this terrifying aua with the use of sound. The dialogue becoming less and less builds an anticipation for when the Santa Clause killer appears. Hixson then knocks it out of the park with the design of the Santa Clause killer being reminiscent to Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.
While the Santa Clause killer is definitely the standout thanks to fantastic presentation the other characters in this story are all developed well. The lead character, named Michael, is given a proper amount of time to develop who he is. Tynion does a good job at injecting some personal experience with the job Michael has to develop his voice. At the same time, Tynion makes sure Michael’s voice is his own and not taking that of Tynion. With what Michael is doing it sets him up to have bigger moments in future issues as his current work leads him down a dark, scary path.
The Deviant #1 is one of the most impressive first issues of a comic book we’ve had in 2023. James Tynion and Joshua Hixson knock it out of the park creating story you can’t help but be immersed by. This may be most terrifying version of Santa Clause we have seen. It’s definitely a must read for fans of horror.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10