Snow The Dawn
By Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
“Everything in that moment slowed down, each raindrop, each ripple, racing in time with my heartbeat.”
It seems that in comic books, adverse events create superheroes of the unlikeliest of candidates. In some instances, even a mugging leads to a previously average man becoming something better than average. Something where his eyes change colors and he displays an uncanny ability to save the day. That’s the character in Snow: The Dawn #1. The first issue is written by Nick Goode and illustrated by Harry Hughes.
It’s 2080 and a worldwide flood has devastated the world. As the ice caps retreated and flooded the oceans, coastlines of continents and countries the world over were washed away, with the remains of London divided into boroughs. James Snow works tirelessly for the councilman of Islington, one of the boroughs established in the wake of the flood. On one fateful night walking home from work, he’s mugged and drugged, waking up with a continual headache and a newfound reflexive ability to hold his own in fights and dangerous situations. The new approach to life prompts his eyes to change tone and his unrequited love for co-worker Sarah to actualize itself into a date.
Setting new superhero stories against the backdrop of a worldwide apocalypse is certainly nothing new, but Goode manages to make it feel a little fresh. James comes across as a regular joe, fighting the good fight and having nothing to show for it in terms of success or a relationship. His mugging is definitely random and the reasoning behind drugging him remains to be seen and is expected to be revealed in the upcoming issues. His powers seem to be somewhere in the realm of superhero strength and speed, both of which he puts to use in what appears to be a burgeoning crime-fighting career.
The issue does suffer from quite a bit of self-narration, something that doesn’t really afford the reader much room in terms of putting together the pieces. Narrative exposition isn’t a bad thing, but an over-reliance on it makes the story a little boring for the reader. Reading James’ life as the reader views it feels a little monotonous, something that does work to some degree in conveying the tediousness of James’ life. There’s also the looming specter of Vices Enterprise, a corporation that will no doubt play a larger role in the new changes in James’ life and the well being of London.
Hughes’ art is very intriguing. It falls somewhere between watercolor and light sketches, with Goode utilizing light outlines for the characters and settings with little emphasis on the details. On the other hand, the characters manage to look very detailed and really keep the reader engaged in the story. The action sequences are illustrated very cleanly, offering a sharp look at the fights that appear to be pretty brutal. There’s a good mix of panel layouts and arrangements, as Hughes doesn’t rely too heavily on standard panel layouts. Female characters are illustrated very voluptuously, something that definitely adds sex appeal to the book, yet may also turn off some readers.
Snow: The Dawn #1 starts off a massive saga that will tackle things like global catastrophe and becoming a superhero. The pairing of the two provides a rather compelling narrative, as James will cope with quite a bit of new ground as he learns to balance what it takes to be both a superhero and a political lackey. There’s symmetry in his desire to do the right thing at the councilman’s office and as a newfound hero, something that Goode will likely capitalize on in subsequent issues. The illustrations by Hughes are fresh and provide a unique presentation of the story that will surely capture readers. It’s the first issue of a series that may be worth checking out if you’re looking for something post-apocalyptic that isn’t The Walking Dead.