Happy Trade Tuesday, everyone! This week, I’ve got a good one for you – a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where the remnants of humanity ride a train, the Snowpiercer.
An environmental cataclysm has made the Earth uninhabitable, covered in ice and snow, and freezing. The Snowpiercer, a one thousand and one-carriage train powered by perpetual motion, rides to nowhere, the last vestiges of humanity shuttling along. But the Snowpiercer is slowing down, and resources are starting to dwindle.
The train cars have their own social hierarchy. The residents of the “Golden Cars”, the luxury first class, have the best of everything. These inhabitants are the ones who were meant to survive the catastrophe, but there are others. The third class cars are filled with the “tail fuckers” – the dregs of humanity, the lower classes who scrambled and fought their way aboard to have a chance at life. They are packed like cattle and fed rotting food.
One man – Proloff – manages to escape and is taken prisoner. He meets a socio-political advocate, Adeline, who has heard that a third-class passenger is under guard and tries to free him. The two find themselves in the middle of a plot to jettison the lower classes – will Proloff save his own skin, or will he try to help his fellow passengers?
The book interested me – I’m a post-apocalyptic fan, and this provides an interesting spin on the survivor tale. The idea of this train, with no destination, in this post-disaster world sets up a pretty bleak tale. Add the conflict of the social classes, separated into different cars, and you have a pressure cooker that’s ready to blow. Remember the riots that happened on Battlestar Galatica? Yeah – like that, but this is a train, where the cars are connected together. Throw in a religious order, The Brotherhood of the Engine, to stir the pot a bit, and you’ve set the stage for quite a few blowups.
The fast-paced dialogue keeps the story moving. Proloff isn’t a romantic hero, which makes him all the more interesting. He’s out for Number One – isn’t he? There’s internal conflict which makes him a fascinating character to watch. The black-and-white artwork makes the crowds of the third class cars even more suffocating, and the lonely train lumbering along a desolate landscape even more bleak.
Titan’s the first to publish Snowpiercer, originally Le Transperceneige, in English. The French graphic novels by Jacques Lob, illustrated by Jean-Marc Rochette, were originally published between 1984 and 2000 by Casterman.
Snowpiercer has also been made into a movie starring Chris Evans (Captain America, The Avengers) and Tilda Swinton (Constantine, Only Lovers Left Alive), and is slated to release this year – but we still don’t have a US release date. I’ll keep you posted on that development. In the meantime, Snowpiercer hits shelves on Wednesday. Check it out. And while you’re waiting for the movie, check out the international trailer.
SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 1
Writers: Jacques Lob
Artist: Jean-Marc Rochette
Translated by: Virginie Selavy
On-Sale Date: January 29, 2014
Diamond ID: NOV131240