Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on Ice? No it isn’t some crazy Disney idea it is the follow-up to Greg Rucka’s masterful Whiteout. Actually this is more Ice Station Zebra with a modern day twist.
Whilst Whiteout didn’t need a sequel it is nice to see more of the great character Carrie Stetko. It starts off with an intriguing premise, which is a little James Bond, but sadly becomes far too predictable. You know who the bad guys are and are just turning pages until the good guys win. This isn’t a mystery, there aren’t any twists, and if you were uncharitable you could call the sex scene gratuitous. You do get to see more of Carrie Stetko if you know what I mean.
This is such a shame and so different from the original you would think it was penned by a different writer. There are lots of facts and a strong hook at the start but it just fizzles out leaving you disappointed.
The art is just as good as previously and you can see Lieber putting a lot of effort in, developing myriad techniques for drawing snow and visualising a palpable polar atmosphere. His style feels very old school and evokes the feel of popular war-comics of yesteryear.
So disappointing that it gets No Thumbs up here.
Tomorrow: DMZ (11): Free States Rising – Brian Wood
This is a detective story set in Antarctica. Certainly an unusual location and one that Rucker uses to full advantage. The unique group of people that live here and the almost alien environment make a superb backdrop. A lot of research has gone into this piece and you do learn a lot, both in terms of hard facts and figures, and the feeling of what life is like down there.
There are two female protagonists and although this is a short four-part volume you do get to see some firm characterisation and feel warmth towards them. You aren’t told who did it but are one step ahead of the investigators and get the chance to solve the mystery just before they do. You will have to wait for the end to get the full explanation though.
The art is black and white newspaper strip – rough around the edges and with block shading. Whilst this monotone is perfect for the albino setting you don’t get as much detail as you might like. It is incredibly dialogue heavy but the art is well thought out with clever framing tricks and cinematic angles. Even in black and white you can get a broad visual palette allowing for day, night, snowstorm, flashback, hallucination and so on. All this and not a single shade of grey in sight.
An enjoyable Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Whiteout: Melt – Greg Rucka