Snow Angels Volume 1 review – a survival horror comic from two industry greats.

Coming to print for the first time this month is Snow Angels, a ComiXology Original by two of the top talents working in comics today. Milliken and Mae don’t really know how their people came to live in The Trench. No one does, not even their wise and gentle Father. On Milliken’s twelfth birthday, their father takes the two girls on an overnight skate down the trench – a coming-of-age ritual to teach them how to fish the frozen river, how to hunt the wild Trenchdogs that wander its frigid banks, and how to give proper thanks to their frozen Gods – The Colden Ones. It’s the trip of a lifetime until the girls push beyond the borders of their humble land and awaken the Trench’s deadly defender… The Snowman!

Jeff Lemire is one of the most highly regarded creators currently working in the comic industry. His Black Hammer series for Dark Horse was a fresh take on superheroes and he has written various acclaimed comics for Image (Descender, Gideon Falls), DC (Sweet Tooth, Justice League Dark) and Marvel (Hawkeye, Old Man Logan, Moon Knight). Jock meanwhile is a name often brought up when talking about the best artists to have worked on Batman after his stellar work with Scott Snyder on storylines such as The Black Mirror and The Batman Who Laughs, not to mention his work on various other comics such as Wytches and Green Arrow. Given this pedigree, readers should know they are in for a treat.

Two of Lemire’s main strengths as a writer has always been his work with characters and world building (Black Hammer being a prime example). He wastes no time in putting these skills to good use in Snow Angels with both an intriguing premise and engaging characters. We have had plenty of survival horror series in recent years, but this one manages to stand out largely thanks to the aforementioned character work. Milliken and Mae have an attitude and curiosity of the outside world to a level where it appears they aren’t taking their situation seriously. This contrasts nicely against their father who has been toughened up by his experiences and has far more caution and cynicism. He does have a warm side however and the bond he shares with his daughters does shine through. The Trench and the world outside it also make for an intriguing setting, with Lemire building both the story and level of tension at a great rate.

Many of Jock’s best works have been on comics with a horror tint, so it is little wonder that he is a perfect fit for Snow Angels. He has long been one of the best modern comic artists to work with shadows/negative space so a snowy wasteland is a natural fit. The vast snowy landscapes that make up the series’ setting have a haunting quality and the harsh blizzards enhance this atmosphere. His character work is also strong, with the personalities really shining through even when he sometimes has to solely rely on the characters’ eyes.

This is a fantastic survival horror comic by two top comic creators at the top of their game. Snow Angels is definitely one not to miss.

Snow Angels Volume 1 is out 24 February from Dark Horse (9781506726489, p/b, £16.99)

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