Snowpiercer: The Escape (vol. 1)
By: Jacques Lob (writer), Jean-Marc Rochette (Illustrations)
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy
In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice.
The surviving community are not without a social hierarchy; those that travel at the front of the train live in relative luxury whilst those unfortunate enough to be at the rear remain clustered like cattle in claustrophobic darkness. Yet, things are about to change aboard the train as passengers become disgruntled…
Originally published in French, this marks the first time that Snowpiercer will be available in English.
I’ve been on the lookout for this comic ever since I saw the trailer to the movie starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. It was quite exciting to hear that they finally published the series (only 2 volumes long?) into English so I picked up a copy 🙂
Snowpiercer was very interesting. The narrative about Snowpiercer, with its one thousand carriages travelling along endlessly with no destination and no hope…It’s very chilling. Couple that with the panels of the train moving along a white, desolate plain…The scenery shots outside of the train were intriguing, and adds to the bleakness and the general atmosphere of the story.
The story itself was interesting, ripe with class struggle between the rich and the poor, and survival. There are those in first class, living life as before, with their access to goods as well as the more unsavoury aspects of society, and then there are those who live in the tail, the last minute additions on the train, whose lives there are so miserable and deplorable, the main character Proloff can’t even bring himself to talk about it. There are people like Adeline who try to bring awareness in helping those at the tail, but ultimately their cause is just words, and the military and the police enforce the rigid social structure of the train. I can sort of see how the story is influenced by the politics of the time in which it was written, and the effects that the Cold War has had on the thinking of the time. I also think there’s also an allegory somewhere and the train itself propelling onward with no destination and the author’s thoughts on life and progress.
The only downside to this story is the misogyny that is rampant in this story; almost all of the women present in this story are there for nudity purposes, a la HBO/Game of Thrones/you know. Adeline was interesting enough but not very well developed, serving no more than as a voice for the humanitarian sect of the population, and as a love interest for Proloff (which, my only critique about that was that it happened waaaay too quickly).
Overall, the concept for Snowpiercer was really interesting, very apocalyptic, rather claustrophobic, and ultimately pretty bleak. There are no easy escapes, especially as all hell breaks loose towards the end. The ending did seem pretty rushed, and could have used a little indicator as to how much time had passed, but I am curious to see in the next volume how things turned out.