The final battle ensues in the opening pages of Klarion #6 as the Witch-Boy faces off against Coal of the Necropolitan Club. The technological mage tries to throw Klarion off-balance by claiming that Zell bewitched the newcomer when he entered the Moody Museum. Coal doesn’t do this to try to weaken Klarion, so much as he looks to recruit the young witch into the Necropolitan Club. Klarion, for his part, rejects the offer outright, exclaiming, “Why join either of you? I got both kinds of magic.” And after warding off Coal with the aid of his buddy-bot, Klarion returns to the Moody Museum where he intends to put the other mages in their place.
Klarion attempts to assert himself before facing his final challenge – reunite with his familiar Teekl, and face off the demonic Gargora. The final fight merges Klarion’s struggle with his past and his arrogance as he reconciles with his familiar to banish Gargora.
The issue ends with a series of smaller scenes, as Klarion confronts Zell about her possibly bewitching him to lure him into the Moody Museum. In other locations, the Necropolitan Club prepares to move on without Coal, while Beelzebub and Swag drink to the success of their manipulations. The scene ends with Klarion joining the Moody Museum and preparing to train a new group of students in the ways of the supernatural.
The artwork by Trevor McCarthy and Szymon Kudranski is fantastic this issue. The two-page layouts that have defined this series really shine in the conflicts here as the panels add a palpable energy to the proceedings. There’s a swagger to Klarion in this issue that oozes through his body language and the smirks he offers. Colorist Guy Major also deserves major credit for the art this issue as luminescent blues and greens add to the tone and spectacle of the book.
Ann Nocenti’s characterization of Klarion is in full-stride here, and it’s delightful to read. The real highlight of the issue comes in the dark humor that comes in the interaction between Klarion and his buddy-bot which has taken to calling Klarion father. It’s quite clear that Klarion has no real love for the robot and the abusive relationship between them works well as a dark comedy.
The pacing of the series has been its downfall, and Klarion #6 does not escape this pitfall. The conflict between Klarion and the Necropolitan Club is dealt with half-way through the issue, and as a finale of sorts, the back end of the issue focuses on a conflict between the denizens of the Moody Museum and Gargora, a demon from Jack Kirby’s work in the 70s. While it’s nice to see a callback to this series’ predecessor, it seems bizarre to pull this story forward in the finale, especially when the other issues in the arc spent time setting up the Necropolitan Club as the big threat.
Klarion has been a series of missteps buttressed by some truly fantastic art. Ann Nocenti demonstrated a strong take on the titular character, but the plot seemed overly compressed so that none of it left a true impression. It’s unfortunate that the series didn’t get more room to breathe, but it was a zany ride while it lasted.