Frostbite graphic novel review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Vertigo - 978-1-4012-7134-3
  • Release date: 2017
  • UPC: 9781401271343
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

As you have probably noticed, Earth as we know it is doomed. It’s a tragedy of staggering proportions and a telling indictment of the suicidal greed and indifference afflicting so many humans. Ironically this fact fuels an immense and growing genre of armageddon fiction. Check the recommendations for a few of them.

Here’s a – brace yourselves! – truly chilling yarn from writer Joshua Williamson and illustrator Jason Shawn Alexander capturing the grim foreboding of the Last Days whilst still dangling cruel hopes of possible survival.

Once upon a time, six scientists sought to save the world from destruction, and humanity from itself. As inexorable climate change turned Earth into an uninhabitable tinderbox, they did something wondrous with cold fusion and eradicated the searing heat build-up. However, no good deed ever goes unpunished and their miraculous solution unleashed a new ice age that brought civilisation to its knees and human beings to the edge of extinction.

In the aftermath, as pockets of mankind sought to stay warm and eat on a desolate ice-ball world, it was revealed that the temperature inversion had brought another – even more terrifying – tribulation: a bizarre disease that slowly turned living creatures into ice. Terrified humans began isolating themselves in smaller groups, making pariahs of strangers, abhorring the blue stigma and dreading the inescapable death sentence that was “Frostbite”.

America 57 years after the big freeze is an icy wind-wracked wilderness, with meagre population pockets occupying what used to be mega-cities. It’s a world of barter, exploitation and quick violence, with heating devices and drugs as the prime transferable resources. Criminals have scrambled to the top of the heap and dictate the way things are, and everyone is terrified that fraternisation also brings the cold contagion.

In Mexico City, freelance cargo-shippers Keaton and her partner Chuck Barlow accept a commission to transport a father and his daughter to what used to be Alcatraz Island. Both prospective passengers are science doctors and display obvious signs of great wealth, but broke as she is, Keaton can’t shake her suspicions of something bad in play. Henry Bonham and his brilliant child Victoria clearly have the resources to travel in style and comfort, but instead want the secrecy of a lumbering tractor like Barlow’s pride and joy Icebreaker. Keaton would be even more upset if she knew who they were and who was chasing them.

Their voyage across the frozen south overflows with violent clashes as relentless pursuit constantly results in explosive violence, with Keaton’s prowess and ingenuity significantly reducing the numbers of humans in existence every time they are caught or intercepted. Soon however, their only foe is Keaton’s secret and when that’s exposed, everything changes forever.

Fast-paced, smart, action-packed and tension-taut, Frostbite is a picture perfect action adventure with a flawed but indomitable hero in the same unstoppable yet fragile mould as Ripley or Sarah Connor. Ending with a magnificent cover gallery this is the kind of chill affirmative action we should all enjoy.