Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Jason Shawn Alexander
Coloring by Luis NCT
Lettering by Steve Wands
Most people have probably seen Joshua Williamson’s name pop up because of his recent run on The Flash and his suspense thriller Nailbiter. Both providing wildly different outlets for a writer that can craft an intriguing mystery within a world that’s been established by previous comics creators or one he created himself. Now he’s started a book on the DC’s Vertigo brand in a dystopian future stuck in the next Ice Age.
The book opens with a splash page of Los Angeles covered in snow and the murder of a character immediately providing a thread for the larger plot of the issue itself.The murder was done at the order of a man named Fuego, a dangerous criminal in need of doctors that have escaped his grasp. Jason Shawn Alexander’s art is stylistically gritty with coloring obscured by grainy shading to capture the tone and bite of the world that he and Williamson built.
The next page is our introduction to Keaton, a human trafficker who specializes in transporting people over the most dangerous, frozen territories. She’s tough, but has a soft spot for those that endure the situation she had growing up without a reliable source of heat. Her and her crew are in need of a job to earn them money to keep their heat going. Doctors Henry and Victoria Bonham are in need of their services, but something doesn’t sit right with Keaton about them.
The society’s cold and bitter approach is a reflection of the environmental disaster that occurred on the planet. In a scene, the reader sees two hoodlums taking away the warm blankets of beggars on the street. What transpires from there is a scene lacking humanity and the disease aptly named “Frostbite”, a cellular disease that freezes your body from the inside out, is introduced. Then one of the hoodlums decides to bash the frozen body of one of the beggars, leaving his wife shattered by the loss of her husband and the callous treatment of his remains.
This propels Keaton to take the job, but they are ambushed by Fuego’s associate Nanuq, who turns it into a shootout. The coloring by Luis NCT here is warmer, distinctly contrasting the the colder tones of the rest of the book, and it fills the action with a warmth attributed to Keaton and her crew. They’re clearly the good guys in a world where it’s hard to prioritize morality over survival. Nanuq’s background is still white or grey, which is emblematic of the nature of his character. He is a cold blooded murder with only Fuego’s interests as his priority.
The scene culminates to a twist ending that will either make or break the issue for some. It creates a foundation of character development that if executed correctly can prove fruitful instead of a trope of betrayal. The lettering by Steve Wands is inspiring in the last fourth of the issue because he uses it to fade the dialogue into white creating a dynamic of sound for those reading.
The Ice Age is a global catastrophe that has devastated the planet and its inhabitants. Loss is at the core of this mini-series and will thematically continue to rear its ugly head as a reflection of how humanity adapts. The world is an exploration of the lengths society will go to to survive and hopefully thrive once again.
Buy! The entire team is synched up together providing an interesting dystopian world for a narrative that is bound drag you in. If you like anything dystopian, this is a book that you’ll eat up and wash down with vigor. Williamson and Alexander don’t seem to be pulling any punches with this mini-series and still only giving you just enough answers to keep coming back for more!