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Everfrost #1 is as Haunting as it is Inspired

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Everfrost #1 Review

Everfrost #1 is a sci-fi action comic book in similar vein to Saga and Descender. It’s written by Ryan K Lindsay with art by Sami Kivela, coloring by Lauren Affe and lettering by Jim Campbell.

Everfrost #1 is published by Black Mask Studios and will be available from your local comic shop as of June 2nd, 2021.

Everfrost #1 Story

Before we get stuck into this review I’d like to preface my analysis of Everfrost #1 with a simple note: it’s good. It’s so good in fact you’ll need to read it 2 or 3 times before you’ll start to truly appreciate what Lindsay and Kivela are doing here. In fact, Everfrost is too fucking good for the comic book medium. Not that it’s a bad thing but with that expectation laid bare for you, it will set the tone for the sights, the awe, the splendour, the amazement and every other emotion this creative team made me feel. And, as a consequence, will make you feel.

This isn’t just another throw away floppy!

The protagonist and heroine, Van, introduces us to a world far less travelled. Probably because there’s very little signs of humanity left. A world broken and torn asunder by the warring factions, the kraken, and the giant alien skull-whales. Yes, that’s a thing.

A scientist of sorts, Van seems to be futilely conducting experiments to an end known only to her. Perhaps to combat the giant creatures that plague the surface of this now frost bitten earth. Or to come across a discovery to explain why there is so few of humanity left? There’s little else except a barren wasteland and being accompanied by a talking Monkey who seems to enjoy feasting on barbecued alien meet even more so than Van.

This odd couple situation presents an element of despair and loneliness that would come with being the last woman alive. A plague of the mind which is so eloquently explored by Lindsay as Van continues to go through the motions of her vain attempts at science. Which seem, at least for the purpose of this issue, go nowhere as far as science is concerned. But that go everywhere as far as Lindsay is able to explore the trauma of Van’s past. A past shrouded in the mystery death of a loved one.

Lindsay takes on an interesting detour between two warring factions where we see an incredible sky battle of epic proportions. Where the loser is decapitated. Oh but don’t worry. In the world of Everfrost, if your head is intact then you’ll probably just be transplanted onto a cybernetic scorpion body. This detour takes us deep into the heart of understanding that the quality of life is questioned so innately and distinctly you will begin to question: what does it mean to exist? What is life but the sum of its parts? Or, more accurately, what is life but the sum of these brand new cybernetic parts?

An interesting Segway to say the least which not only sets up the antagonistic warring houses as the political backdrop on how we understand this world on an ecological standpoint. It also sets up their own philosophical belief system and how it plays into the lore of Everfrost and its citizens.

After a brief soirée of Van and her monkey companion luring in kraken offspring to conduct experiments, debating life as they know it and gorging on the corpses of those very offspring – we are brought to the one town that seems to serve as a safe harbour for end of the world commerce. Not a Mos Eisley so much. More of a Defiance (if any of you saw that Syfy show) with serious sci-fi western vibes.

Van is taken to a show room where she witnesses these human clones face off against a giant squid. Clones who, after killing the squid, are reduced to miniature sizes which raises the question of size augmentation for the purpose of owning a life. The metaphor of reducing someone’s being, who they, their identity to a small joke (‘scuse the pun). Clones gifted to Van who, in turn, leaves them in the snow to freeze to death in their pet shop jar. Better to leave a joke at humanity’s expense to wither and die.

All of these high concept ideas of Lindsay’s raises Everfrost to a whole new playing field in comic book output. The feeling of loss and emptiness is throughly explored through the endless plains of snow and frost bitten winter land which serves as Van’s playground. It’s a reverse Mad Max with sci-fi that flirts with cyberpunk witchcraft. Despite the extreme sky battles and inspiring dead kraken beasts that pollute the landscape, here’s a deeper comic book waiting to get out. One that raises the question around quality of life and what it means to truly exist – both inwardly and at the end of the world.

Everfrost #1 front cover, courtesy of Black Mask Studios
Everfrost #1 front cover, courtesy of Black Mask Studios

Everfrost #1 Art

Sami Kivela’s art is as haunting as it is inspired. Here’s a comic which spends as much time exploring the depths of despair through the endless rolling hills of snow and ice as much as it does on the quirky exchanges between Van and her monkey. You don’t feel like one part of the artwork has suffered in quality because the other parts needed to have work done on them.

Combining this with Lauren Affe’s colours which seem to come alive with the turn of each page. You can see yourself in this comic book, suffering the loss of your fellow man and living on the precipice of complete and utter depression. This is a world fantastically broken thanks to Kivela and Affe painstakingly executed work.

Everfrost #1 Conclusion

What starts as a simple post-apocalyptic story turns into something different. Everfrost is something eerie and beautiful, something broken and comfortable, something polarising and yet magnetic. Everfrost is an amalgamation of ideas and concepts, all high-level, which are executed perfectly.

This is the Bong Joon-Ho of comic books. Familiar yet reticently different. A comic book you’ll need to read several times before you cross over from unconsciously unaware to consciously aware of Lindsay and Kivela’s achievement.

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