BY MATT TUCK
Snow Angels #1’s combination of great writing and haunting artwork serves its purpose of making you want a Comixology membership.
SNOW ANGELS #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mark “Jock” Simpson
Not to sound like a comic snob, but I typically don’t get my hopes up when I see a “Comixology Original” label on the digital app. As I am certain was Comixology’s intent in signing the superstar creative team, reading the names Jeff Lemire and Jock in the credits piqued my interest. Although only one issue deep, I am craving more.
Basically, this is another in a long line of post-apocalyptic stories. Lemire does not give the readers an explanation, but it appears our main characters - Caleb and his daughters, Milliken and Mae - live in the scattered remains of a world consumed by what we can assume was a second Ice Age. All that is revealed is that they live in a massive trench etched into the expanse of infinite ice. The children are warned to never leave the trench without risking their lives to the mythical “Snowman.”
Jock’s artwork captured the desolate, frozen desert perfectly. The subdued tones and muted colors reflected the foreboding mood of Lemire’s writing, making these two an excellent pairing. By the time the bloodshed begins and the horrors of the Trench unfold, it is the culmination of a slow burn built with cunning skill.
It is hard to say exactly where this story is headed, and hopefully that will be a hallmark of Snow Angels going forward. The cliffhanger ending certainly leaves the reader on edge after a tense issue. There are many paths this series could take. Of course, it is the first issue, and it would be disappointing if the journey was predictable.
Where Lemire truly succeeded is in creating sympathetic characters while establishing the mood of the issue. As a reader, I empathized with Caleb, a widower raising two young girls in an unforgiving, frozen environment. When the action picked up, I cared what would happen to this little family I just met. All of this set the bar high, and I expect to be taken on an emotional roller coaster with a heartfelt ending. Then again, it’s Jeff Lemire, so I think I am in good hands.
I am a traditionalist when it comes to reading. No matter if it is a novel or a comic, I like paper copies. When Snow Angels has finished its run, hopefully this will be printed in at least a collected trade paperback.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.