"Frostbite #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander
Colored by Luic NCT
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 23rd, 2016
The world has plunged into an everlasting winter due to the machinations of a few scientists trying to fix global warming. Meanwhile, a deadly plague called frostbite is spreading, which is just making things worse. It freezes people from the inside out, literally turning them to ice. Amidst all of this is a glimmer of hope. The cure lies within Victoria Bonham, the daughter of one of the aforementioned scientists. Keaton, a tough-as-nails scavenger, has agreed to help her, both for pay and personal reasons. She's got a secret. Actually, she's got a few and all of them can destroy any hope that she, as well as humanity, may hold.
The dynamic between Victoria and Keaton is what drives Frostbite. Victoria is putting her life in Keaton's hands, trusting her to get her safely to her destination. This means fighting off all forms of gangs prowling the frozen wastelands from Los Angeles to Alcatraz. Victoria is trying to get to know her would-be savior and goes to great lengths to help and protect her.
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Keaton tries to keep the girl at arm's length because despite how friendly the two of them are now, the fact of the matter is that Keaton killed her father. She shot the guy point blank when she learned of his involvement in the creation of this new ice age. You know that sooner or later that secret has to come out. It's only a matter of time. Until then, this friendship is a powder keg.
It's easy to describe Frostbite as a frozen version of Mad Max. We meet two new gangs, the Snow Queens and the Firemen. Both groups have been driven mad with the plunging temperature. They cruise through the tundra in snowmobiles and massive trucks with spikes jutting out of every side. There's one panel with a fireman grinning maniacally from behind the wheel of a truck as he grips a steering wheel with a skull on top. I'm pretty sure that's right from Mad Max: Fury Road, albeit with a different costume.
I don't say that as a negative. Artist Jason Shawn Alexander delivers real terror as these vehicles approach. They're the only splash of color in a whiteout of snow. They appear menacing and foreboding right off the bat. From the moment you see them, you know that they're bad news. These are not people out those stranded in the ice. They're here to rape and pillage.
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The scene that follows is tense and filled with action. Here you have Keaton, Victoria, and their driver Barlow in one all-terrain vehicle plowing through the snow at top speeds with a horde of violence right on their tail. Alexander packs every panel with excitement. You can practically hear the soundtrack booming as the battle begins. Bullets are flying and people are dying. This is some smart art direction, keeping you white-knuckled as you turn each page.
Frostbite is the alternate, colder version of Mad Max we didn't know we wanted, but are eternally grateful it exists. Two people are thrown together on a life-or-death road trip. The body count has only grown since they began this trip and it shows no signs of stopping. We'll see how that is affected once secrets start coming to the surface.