By Sam King
Nuclear Winter is an original graphic novel that was written by Cab, who also did the art. It is an interesting slice of life story with a twist on it, that takes place in Canada. Serious themes like the ones present in X-Men, with a mix of Chernobyl, meets a plucky heroine carrying out a routine job in really bad weather. It is fun and entertaining, without being dark, dreary, and bleak despite the radiation.
Flavie is a young woman in her twenties who works as a courier. She delivers packages, which has gotten tougher since there’s been perpetual snow due to a nuclear power plant accident. She rides her skidoo through snow banks and makes deliveries, all while avoiding people and social interaction. Marco is a writer who is famous for throwing great parties and being on top of the social scene. The two find themselves interacting, and they each get a new perspective, forming a friendship based on just being genuine with one another.
Flavie is very introverted and avoids parties, but she has a legitimate reason for it. I won’t discuss it, because I’m very anti-spoiler and I think it would be worth reading the novel to find out why. Her boyfriend is not very thoughtful, and he doesn’t listen to her. Their relationship is shown very briefly towards the beginning, but it shows that there isn’t a lot of mutual respect during the interaction. At least not at that moment. This is labeled as volume one and the way it ends; I’m hoping there is a volume two. I would like to see more of Flavie’s current relationship to see exactly how that worked out. How it started and if it was genuine, thereby allowing me to decide if it is actually a relationship she should actually be in, or if the interaction we saw was just a lover’s spat brought on by the severe weather changes.
The general premise is that Flavie’s friend Leonie needs Flavie to cover her work shift, so Flavie ends up out in the latest snowstorm making deliveries. She delivers an order of bagels to Marco’s apartment, but his girlfriend makes it extra trouble. Feeling bad, Marco accompanies Flavie. This is the first time Marco actually fully experiences being out in a snowstorm, and it leads to some really interesting dialogue and interaction. As the story progresses, we get to know inner secrets of both Flavie and Marco, but also see that Marco’s girlfriend isn’t exactly what she seems to be. We also see how a nuclear accident has affected a Canadian city, which gets pretty intriguing, although generally, it could be any city. There are some little Canada-isms added here and again (poutine, anyone?), but without those, it could be anywhere.
The art is generally cartoony and fun. Flavie sometimes looks like a different artist’s rendering of Mabel from the animated show Gravity Falls, although she is much less weird and her jacket doesn’t have any funky prints on it. I think it is the eyes and some of the curves of her hair. The characters are very expressive when it comes to their faces, and I would actually like to see an animated version of this. The art is fun, and it matches the story regarding the kind of humor it has and the way it is choosing to present the story. It is much more light-hearted than most stories involving nuclear radiation tends to be.
Overall, this is a fun story with a strong female lead. I liked Flavie and found her relatable and interesting. She has some quirks, but you can understand why she approaches life the way that she does. The characters are fun and distinct, the story is definitely different from anything I’ve read before, and the art is enjoyable. If they end up doing a volume two, I would love to read it and see where things go from where this one leaves off.