The Freeze touts an “in progress” post-apocalyptic story arc.
With each veritable decision made there is a multitude of what if scenarios lying in wait. In the deepest, darkest recesses of one’s imagination where the genesis of the post apocalyptic sub-genre originated. Here, as a writer, or consequently, a reader, you delve into the desires of a madman. Or, a mage with the ability to conjure up a cavalcade of possible realities. Don’t get too close to the void though.
Dan Wickline pens a comparatively familiar world most white collar clerks can align themselves with. The frustrations are believable. The characters sound off with the usual expected professional disassociation. The modern tone of the environment is confrontational. The Freeze is its own passive aggressive world.
Its a Passive Aggressive World out there
The Freeze kicks off the chain of events in high gear. The first scene starts with an armed team storming an office complex. We see a snippet of soon-to-be-introduced protagonist, Ray, use his unique ability on a frozen woman. Now mobile, the pair complete with a swat team are ambushed by a mercenary group that fire upon them as they attempt to make their escape in a helicopter.
Cut to the second scene in present day. We are introduced to the main character Ray and his mundane routine. Wickline establishes Ray is just like you and me. Normal job, normal life, takes the bus to work and looks after his mum. Its at this point in Issue #1 the reader will start to gravitate towards Ray on a familial empathic basis. This isn’t a character fundamentally flawed or overly complex. He’s simple enough to allow Wickline to explore how Ray’s character traits are going to evolve.
Tonally the colour palette chosen by Phil Sevy plays as a dreamscape tour guide from Ray’s journey from home to work. It says to the reader that something out there is wrong with this world. On a more fundamental basis, it allows for an easier reading experience.
More than The Happening
The next scene introduces us to the usual tropes of office based politics. The stereotypical white collar workers man the skyscraper hallways in force. Its about how Ray navigates his world on a normal days versus the horror The Freeze is about to unleash.
The Freeze unleashes as Ray is going about his normal routine. Upon witnessing one of his co-workers not moving he does everything he can to “snap them out of it.” It eventually becomes apparent that not only is the entire world frozen but only he possesses the gift to “thaw” them by a simple touch.
Its easy to trade off The Freeze as a M Night Shyamalan rip off. But where “The Happening” failed is by establishing firm grounding to emotionally invest in the characters. A trade off that Dan Wickline and his team have succeeded in harnessing their own brand of environmental horror. A horror truly realised by the last page as the tension snaps the characters to an uncomfortable reality. If the world was to suddenly stop then life on earth could also suddenly stop.