Written by Joe Harris
Art by Martin Morazzo, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Michael David Thomas
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: February 17, 2016
From the cover of Snowfall #1, everything looks like we’re walkin’ in a winter Wonderland. Except, well, there’s not been a winter wonderland here on Earth for quite some time, following an inevitable world drought, so…snow? More like the mythical yeti that used to inhabit the frozen tundras that no longer exist. This new Image Comics series from writer Joe Harris and artist Martin Morazzo with Kelly Fitzpatrick on colors and letters by Michael David Thomas explores the great “what if” of climate gone very, very bad. And this creative team does so with all the beauty and grace of a snowflake.
Snowfall #1 is an eco-disaster tale that explores what happens when Earth stops producing a livable amount of rain and snow. It examines the privatization of natural resources in the face of the drought by way of mega-corporations, but also offers an interesting on-the-ground perspective. This first issue spends some time demonstrating what has happened to the world by focusing in on Anthony, a student of a foundation intending to train the next generation of weather mongers. Anthony intends to find the White Wizard (kind of a poorly chosen name), a snowy vigilante whose intentions are still a bit mysterious by the end of the issue.
Joe Harris has weaved a tale that feels almost supernatural in its premise, but sadly is not far off from a realistic future. If there’s one thing this book does exceedingly well, it’s set up the world for the rest of the series. The premise is explained through a trail of narration boxes, a tool that succinctly captures the vision of the story. The style of writing on the opening pages also sets up the tone of the book, an eerie and palpable tension with the current state of affairs. Harris has certainly devised an interesting plot in one issue, but so far, the story is lacking a set of interesting characters. Anthony, who seems to be one of the protagonists in the story is barely given any background, and the man who might be the White Wizard is also blandly depicted. Despite the character shortcomings, however, the issue is generally intriguing enough to bring me back for issue #2. Harris has made it easy to be interested in the corporate politics of the story (though the statement this book is making is a bit heavy-handed), and I am looking forward to the development of the characters.
When I first opened this issue, I thought I was looking at a Steve Skroce or reeled-in Nick Pitarra comic. Image and Image writers have a knack for utilizing artists that inhabit a world of what I might call “uncomfortable realism”. Martin Morazzo most certainly falls into this category. Morazzo’s art is not “realism” in the way that it perfectly captures a human likeness, but realistic in the sense that he seems to realistically portray human emotions in a raw and unsettling manner. Eyes shift back and forth between panels wrought with expression. Morazzo’s detailed faces are a treat to consume on every page. Backgrounds are pleasantly fleshed out and the environments really work with the premise of the story. Kelly Fitzpatrick has quickly risen to the top of my list of favorite colorists, and this issue really shows off some of her skill. Fitzpatrick deftly captures an environmental-driven story, really depicting lighting and cataclysmic climate change with detail. She colors everything from advanced technology to climate maps with a precision that really amplifies the mood of the story.
The creative team behind Snowfall has taken a thought-provoking subject and presented it in a deeply meaningful and beautiful manner. This is the kind of story that is chilling in its implication and beautiful in its implementation.
The Verdict: 8.5/10