Snow Angels #1 – Jeff Lemire, Writer; Jock, Artist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Jeff Lemire is one of the most multi-talented creators in the industry, crafting original tales ranging from futuristic sci-fi (Descender) to pulpy superheroes (Black Hammer) to hard-boiled horror (Gideon Falls). But at the core of almost all his stories are strong characters and a compelling setting. That continues with his first Comixology original, Snow Angels, with long-time Scott Snyder collaborator Jock. This is a minimalist story with only three characters—a father and his two young daughters, all of them trying to survive in an inhospitable location called the Trench. This frozen wasteland is a fascinating setting for a post-apocalypse story—it explains very little but tells you all you need to know quickly—the Trench never ends and it’s a hard place, but what lies outside it is supposedly even worse.
While they come from a village with other survivors, the story keeps a laser focus on the trio of Milliken, Mae, and their father as they spend Milliken’s twelfth birthday on a hunt through the Trench. We’re introduced to some disturbing creatures lurking in the Trench, along with a stark depiction of how dangerous the climate is. Jock is the perfect choice for the art here, as he manages to tell a great story with very little—the vastness and emptiness of the Trench is the scariest thing about it. Despite the setting, what stands out about this story is how familiar it is in some ways. The dynamic between the two girls as they bicker and try to find their place in the family is common to many siblings, and their father never falters from being a calming and instructive presence—no matter how challenging the situation.
But there’s something darker lurking around the fringes of this story, and it starts early with the girls mentioning an old folk tale about a disturbing presence known as the Snowman. This world has its own mythology and secrets lurking around every corner, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. When the family’s normal day comes to a screeching and shocking halt in the final few pages of the first issue, it’s a perfect way to leave us anxious for more. At this point, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Lemire than brilliance, and he delivers. This is one of the strongest first issues I’ve read in a while, and the only complaint I have is that the pace and cliffhanger make me think it might read even better as a completed story than in monthly installments. But I can’t wait to find out.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.