I reviewed in August.
In Santa Claus, Capwell expands on concepts introduced in Red Gorilla. For those wondering about the title, yes, Capwell is very aware of Baum's take on Santa Claus and bases his characterization of Claus on The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (the subject of many December blog entries here). However, Santa's reindeer have the classic names from The Night Before Christmas, but then Jack Snow did the same thing.
Santa arrives in Oz to ask Ozma for help. He appears to be dying. The Mantle of Immortality appears to be losing power, and slowly, Santa is beginning to fade into nothingness! Taking Button-Bright (who often gets called Saladin) with him, Santa Claus follows a magic compass and begins to find the homes of the Wicked Witches of Oz where they find clues as to what to do next.
Back in the Emerald City, the Wizard and his new apprentice Iliana (introduced in Red Gorilla), and they find a mysterious clockwork mechanism in the Fountain of Oblivion. Soon, they begin to discover the magic undoing the Mantle of Immortality, and soon discover the identity of the Wicked Witch of the South.
Yes, there is a third Wicked Witch of the South. Eric Shanower had one in The Enchanted Apples of Oz and Rachel Cosgrove Payes brought in the deliciously fiendish Singra in The Wicked Witch of Oz. Eric Shanower commented that these two don't necessarily contradict each other, but I don't think this one exactly fits into that. Thus, I have to think of it as separate from a lot of other Oz canon.
Still, this is no slight to Capwell's story. It's an exciting, fun tale, and quite enjoyable. Capwell apparently has a lot of fun writing Oz, and it shows.
Capwell also illustrates, but there isn't a lot of major illustration. The same style from Red Gorilla is maintained here. Figurines were a plot point in Gorilla, and all characters were shown as figurines in the pictures of that book, which normally featured a picture at the beginning and end of the chapter. Female characters get off nicely by having a skirt so they don't look fat, but male figures look rather chubby. This is especially true of the diminutive Button-Bright. They're charming nonetheless and work well, though it's not my favorite art style for Oz.
Get your copy on Amazon.com.