Snow Angels Volume 1: Review
Released on February 8th, 2022 by Dark Horse Comics, this new and gritty world is brought to us by the collaboration of three artists: Jeff Lemire, acclaimed Canadian author of Essex Country, The Underwater Welder, and Sweet Tooth (which was produced into a TV Show for Netflix by Robert Downey Jr.); Jock, Scottish comic book artist known for gritty iterations of DC Characters like “The Batman Who Laughs” and “Batman: The Black Mirror”; and Will Dennis, editor for DC Comics, Image Comics and recently Comixology.
What is Snow Angels About?
A coat of snowy white covers the entire world. Right in the middle, there’s a very long cavity where people live. The Trench is all they know. They are born there and will live under three rules until they die. Rule #1: The Trench provides and also shelters. All you need to live is inside The Trench. Rule #2: You must never leave the trench. There is only death outside The Trench. Rule #3: The Trench never ends. It’s an endless path in both ways and those who wander off in curiosity will probably perish.
Pretty interesting premise, right? We can draw comparisons to Under The Dome or The Matrix, but snowier and icier. You might think now of Snowpiercer, but that’s not the case either!
After they showed us the seemingly endless white coat of snow, we’re introduced to three characters: Milliken, our main protagonist, a 12-year-old survivalist with a personality hard-boiled by the freezing winds; Mae Mae, her younger and more emotional sister while barely 8-years-old; and Pa, the only grown-up, also the dad of both girls, strong but warm and helpful but secretive.
After a hunting trip, the story gets spicier as our characters return to their village and find a massacre where everyone is killed by a figure called The Snowman. Things get more interesting plot-wise but if you ask me, they also get lazier as any other character is nerfed before we get to learn how people think and behave inside this trench.
Any insight into the culture of The Trench is delivered to us by the main characters. A very interesting part of Snow Angels is how they view nature inside this place. People honor the living things that provide food and kill only what they need, as they claim The Trench provides.
We get some religious icons, like the Colden Ones, humanoid figures who were once bigger than The Trench itself, but they shrank as they shared their life force to create living things. These living creatures would thrive inside the structure aforementioned, which apparently was also partially created by machines that work with magic (electricity perhaps?).
Why did they do this? Well, they were bored in this icy world, so created things to keep them company. Once they died, they were buried under the ice and sunk to the bottom of the sea that lies beneath the ice sheet. This gets very interesting, as any other human who dies will go to this sort of heaven where the Colden Ones passed to live eternally. Personally, the religious aspect is one of the more interesting aspects of the comic, as the reader wonders how these stories and cultural details came to be.
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A very valid question is: why do people stay inside The Trench? Well, anyone who tries to flee is eventually punished by the robotic figure of The Snowman. Many questions arise after that: Should we believe the folklore of the Colden Ones? Is The Trench man-made? Is The Snow a robot or a person? Is he the main bad guy? Why was the Father lying?
While The Snowman remains a positive and scary aspect to this issue, the cause-effect bond between the father and the antagonist brings a not-so-good point to the story. This is because Mae Mae’s father ends up being too one-dimensional, being mostly a good father filled with secrets about the truth of The Trench.
However, there’s a lot of positive aspects to this creation. The color palette is almost monochromatic. Keeps blue and brown tones within a very constant black and white contrast. This color contrast is violently broken whenever a drop of blood falls over the snow, making every fight and death more compelling to the reader (there’s more than just drops of blood in this comic, don’t worry). There’s also interesting framing through every page. Using physical space in the pages blends well with the present events of Milliken’s memories or thoughts.
Additionally, the sisters make for an interesting duo. They clash here and there. Their ages help in making conflict happen. You believe in their intentions and how they behave and react to the world around them. The world building brings me back to something like The Last of Us and I could think of a Gustavo Santaolalla’s soundtrack complementing the journey. Characters travel by skiing, so you get a sense of speed and intensity whenever they have to run away from something, which could make very cool sequences in a movie or a TV Show.
The trade paperback has very interesting insights into the character’s design and the creative process for the people involved in the comic. There are also some alternative covers that bring a lot of charm to this intriguing premise. And finally, the story has this bloody, gritty and kill-or-be-killed tension. Plus, the harsh climate (a big white where is too hard to see ahead of you) makes for an intense survival story.
However, there are a few negative aspects. One would be the father dying too early before we get to know him more. Another thing I mentioned before is that the massacre at the beginning is an easy excuse to not have more characters to develop. We remain with only our main three and the enigmatic figure of the Snowman. Is it brutal? Yes, but not very quaint in storytelling. Final thoughts: Snow Angels can be predictable at first, but the creepy mystery it builds makes up for an enjoyable experience. Keep an eye out for volume two because we look forward to reading it ourselves!
Have You Read Snow Angels Volume 1?
We hope you enjoyed our review of Snow Angels Volume 1. What do you think of this series? Let us know on social media!