Review – Graphic Novel “Snowpiercer 1: The Escape”
The world has been blanketed in snow, and anyone exposed to the outside instantly becomes frozen as if you were dipped in carbonite. A self sustaining train pulling 1001 carriages is cast forever in motion in a post apocalyptic world in order to keep it’s inhabitants alive and warm. This is the fascinating stage that French writer Jacques Lob has created in his graphic novel Snowpiercer 1: The Escape.
Enter Proloff, Snowpiercers anti-hero. Proloff is a “tail-fucker” from the back of the train, and if you are confused as to what a “tail-fucker” is, they are exactly what you think they are. Well, possibly what you think they are. If you’re thinking they were the poor folk that the rich fat cats crammed in the back few carriages of the train, then you are correct. If you thought that meant they were sodomizers, then you are less correct, but I like where your head is. With a sense of resentment for his fellow tail-fuckers, Proloff selfishly tries to escape the confines of his oppressors in search for a better place on the train with a reckless abandon attitude in tow. As you can guess, shenanigans happen. People die. Whores are lain.
The premiss of the story is a little convoluted, but Lob does a nice job following his own rules he’s created in this world. Except for one thing. My main hangup that I just could not get past was this: if everything was destroyed, then what are they using for money? Obviously they had separation between the classes on the train, and the closer you are to the engine, the better off you were, but what determined that? I mean, if they were using regular money to segregate the wealthy from the poor, couldn’t it’s presence simply been collectively ignored and kept everyone at an equal level? Perhaps their currency was simply fear? Maybe you should just accept what’s going on, Eric, and enjoy yourself?
The art style in Snowpiercer is one of it’s strongest features. It is unapologetically monochromatic, but I feel it is a boon when considering the backdrop is a desolate winter wasteland and it’s lack of color helps sell the idea of bleak horizons. The characters are well drawn, but they do lack a sense of distinction and personality at times. There were two cases where I had to double check between frames to make sure I knew who exactly was saying what, but that was only because the majority of characters in that scene were bald.
So, is it worth a read?
Absolutely, especially if you enjoy graphic novels. Snowpiercer 1: The Escape is an intriguing first installment into this freezing apocalypse. Proloff may not be the most likable guy with the best intentions, but he does have a veil of mystery that shrouds him and makes you want to find out more about his troubling past and how he found his way onto the train. The art is top notch and the writing is well paced and intriguing. There are a few issues with story, but sometimes it’s just better to find a seat and revel in the ride to wherever the hell you are going.