Book Review by: Mut Asheru
Authors: Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand
Illustrator: Jean-Marc Rochette
Publisher: Titan Comics
The beloved French graphic novel Le Transperceneige written by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and illustrated by Jean-Marc Rochette has recently been translated into English as SNOWPIERCER Vol. 1: The Escape. Although the stylishly adapted movie (directed by Bong Joon-ho) of the same name has seen the light of day in Korea with even the SBS variety show The Running Man having based an episode off of the film, it has yet to see the light of day here in the good ole USA. However, it is showing at the Berlin film festival this year and we hear that a compromise has been reached regarding the film’s edits. But in the meantime and in-between time we have the English translation of SNOWPIERCER (courtesy of Titan Comics) to keep us warm.
The first volume of a dualogy, SNOWPIERCER Vol. 1: The Escape starts with a half horizontal of the beastly wonder. The train’s introduction is brief and even so is the landscape that has become home to humanity. The below two quarters alerts us to some ruckus on the train and sets us up nicely for the conflict that fills the rest of the novel.
While the original work was penned in 1984 the prevalent problems that have plagued human psyche since the beginning of time remain the same making the novel timely and relevant. It’s the Human condition condensed onto a 1,001 car long moving train amidst an ice wasteland of a planet. The illustration reflects the cold claustrophobic atmosphere found on the train and the cold cold world outside of it.
The condition of the humans aboard is chaotic and depraved to be sure. In a nutshell there is a social class hierarchy in place. You have three sections divided up into classes. First, middle and low. You know the drill. The questions expertly and intriguingly written and drawn here are “How can one move about freely on the train?” and “Can’t we all just get along?”
The artistic lines are simple and restrained which gives the story a cold, industrial feel while the colorization is completely black-and-white and perfectly complements the plot while helping to further add to the lack of warmth that exists in the SNOWPIERCER reality. We really can’t say that its retro flavored illustration being that Le Transperceneige was written in 1984, but for lack of a better description that’s what we’ll go with.
The text and dialogue do not crowd out the illustrations. As a matter of fact with a storyline as rich as Snowpiercer is I thought it was going to be a nightmare to read but was pleasantly surprised at the feeling of spatial breath and freedom in the graphic novel.
The story itself could hardly be simpler…crazy, deranged, narcissistic and wonderful humans trying to rule and subjugate others. But still it’s a good apocalyptic read and a well-executed translation and worthy of your dough. Due to the gratuitous use of the curse words and phrases like “tail-fucker” and the like we cannot recommend this for the kiddos under 16.