By Mike Badilla
From about 12 seconds of research online, I've found that this series takes place in the future. Global warming has caused the world to become a frozen wasteland. We see how people are reacting and living in this future time. Everyone loves apocalyptic future stories, right? Right? It's also being described as a "western", but it takes place in a frozen Los Angeles. Hmm...
Opening scene is, in fact LA, 57 years into the future. 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Two men are walking down a hallway, one looks like a cowboy hat wearing Sheriff type, the other a modern military with helmet and gear. They're discussing what seems like the appearance of a Dr. Victoria Bonham. The GI Joe guy is telling the Sheriff that they were distracted by some "Jack Frosts" and got away. How topical. The sheriff tells the other guy to not mention anything about the doctor to "his majesty". They strip down to their boxers and enter a very hot and steamy room with a man inside lifting weights. Upon entry, the man confronts them about their recent failures and wants to know what their plan is to fix them.
The sheriff, called Fuego by the weight lifting "majesty", explains that the doctor is heading up the ice and although she has a few hours on them, they can catch her. The GI Joe jumps in and explains that people know they'll pay for the doctor alive, which causes a confrontation. We find out that the majesty is going to pay for the doctor with heat, the only thing keeping him alive as he is suffering from frostbite and the doctor is the only one that can cure it. Some more discussion between the sheriff and the majesty, the other man now dead, and the sheriff is sent to investigate the death of the doctors father.
Meanwhile, in the snowy north, we join a small transport. In that transport are a woman, Keaton, and a man, Barlow, as well as the doctor and a few others. They are on a long mission, currently through an area known as "thin ice", which they can't stop in. Keaton takes some pills, the doctor offers to examine her wounds. An exchange is made when suddenly their rig is hit by an attack. They look out and see "Snow Queens and Firemen". The snow queens are a group that believe in some winter god and they sacrifice people that traverse the ice in hopes of the ice age never ending, led by a woman named Gelda. The firemen simply want to watch things burn, their leader is Pyro. The women inside the rig get their weapons together.
The rest of the book is so exciting, I'm not even going to ruin it. Art on this book: strange. It had times that I really liked it, both the coloring and the art style, but I didn't feel the art overall was level across the book. Sometimes I thought it was ugly and sloppy. The story overall was good. I need to find out more about the whole frostbite thing, as far as if it's some virus or if the guy actually has frostbite, which would be awful. The final part of the book with the big action scene was quite good and enjoyable, the art not letting me down at all. I'm also enjoying the whole story taking place in this snowy setting versus some of the more popular apocalyptic future settings. I'm also a really big fan of Joshua Williamson's book Nailbiter, so you know I'll be back for more.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Publisher: Vertigo Comics