Fall may have just arrived, but it’s going to get cold very soon, which makes Frostbite from Vertigo seasonally appropriate at the least. It’s the future and the new Ice Age is here–is it good?
Frostbite #1 (Vertigo Comics)
So what’s it about? The official Vertigo summary reads:
Long after Earth has entered its second ice age, humanity has learned to cope with the frozen elements. In this cold and bleak future, heat is power, and brutal gangs roam the icy wasteland looking for it. If that wasn’t enough, a terrible disease nicknamed “frostbite” is literally freezing people from the inside out. Once you catch it, the effect is instantaneous. There is no immunity, there is no cure. Until now. Doctor Henry Bonham and his daughter Victoria have found the key to ending frostbite. If they can get from Mexico City to a secret government outpost in Alcatraz, they could stabilize life across the globe. But to do that they’ll need to stay alive. That’s where Keaton comes in. She and her crew have faced worse journeys before, but never with the potential consequences this one poses if they fail.
Why does this book matter?
Vertigo has been producing some of the best adult themed books in the last year and there’s no reason to think they’re slowing down now. On top of that, this book deals with the very real possibility that our weather will be thrown off wack. A new Ice Age is in the cards and this comic explores that.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This series feels gritty and real right off the bat with a brutal murder to kick things off. The world is very cold, which makes heat an expensive commodity. The lead protagonist is a bit of a rebel who, along with two others, makes her way through the hard world job to job. Williamson doesn’t play around with this first issue, kicking things off right quick, then sending the characters we barely know down a plot at a breakneck pace.
It also deftly introduces the big plot element that drives it all forward that’s a bit of surprise. Let’s just say the cold isn’t the only threat our characters are facing. There’s complexity too due to the troubled world and there’s much more political intrigue Williamson can mine. By the end you’ll want to be in on this ride as there are many different balls in the air that create a compelling world to explore further.
The art by Jason Shawn Alexander has interesting textures that give the book a gritty realistic feel. Like Fargo, the book plays with negative space to make the snow a feeling of dread. The violence is graphic and there are moments that are reminiscent of Alex Maleev. That helps give it a realistic TV vibe.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The story is light on developing our cast of characters, especially the supporting characters. We get a small amount of what the protagonist is going through, but still the issue moves so quickly we can’t gather much at this point in this issue. That’s a pro and a con in a sense, but you’ll be left wanting more.
Heat as a commodity. Scary future.
Is It Good?
This is a strong start to a series that feels more important than ever. The climate change element is pertinent mixed in with a gritty, violent, underworld feel.