Comics: Snowpiercer the Prequel Part 1: Extinction - Reviewed

The Snowpiercer comic book series has quite a history. A graphic novel by the name Le Transperceneige, the first book was originally released in France in 1982. The series continued with follow-up books being released in 1999, 2000, and concluded in 2015. In 2014, the US got the film adaptation, directed by Bong Joon-ho with an all-star cast that includes Tilda Swinton and Octavia Spencer. The same year the first two volumes were translated to English for the first time. Now, with the new TV show starring Jennifer Connelly slated to being airing Spring 2020, we get to find out how this whole thing got started…

For those who aren’t familiar with the basic premise of The Snowpiercer, it tells of a post-apocalyptic Ice Age on Earth where all remaining humans are aboard a massive train 1,001 cars long. The wealthy end up at the front in the lap of luxury, while the rest live in squalor in the rear cars. Part One of the prequel, “Extinction”, begins to set up the events that took place that lead to this dystopia.

Bringing back the artist from the original graphic novel, Jean-Marc Rochette, the book has a dreamy almost storybook vibe. Though I didn’t care much for the character design (admittedly, I prefer a more classic comic book art style), the splash pages and landscape scenes are moody and immersive. The storybook vibe can probably be attributed to the coloring done by Jose Villarrubia, which seems to be reminiscent of watercolor paint.

In this first installment of the Snowpiercer prequel, writer Matz sets up a pre-apocalyptic world, full of scoundrels, apathetic people, and of course, those who may or may not end up having a place in a car on the Snowpiercer. We meet Mr. Zheng, the mastermind behind the ambitious invention of the 1,001-car train, and a young boy and his father watching a new world unfold before their eyes. This book is a quick read if you want it to be; the first half doesn’t have much dialogue or character development but situates the reader for what’s to come. The end of this book totally put me on the edge of my seat, and I’m excited to see how everything transpires and what led to and became of society on the Snowpiercer. In the next books, I hope there is more character development for the people we were introduced to in this first book.

-Mara Powell