Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette

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Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette

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Buy Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Class warfare as British Rail never had it, with the world's citizens mirroring society on one long train travelling endlessly through frigid wastes.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Titan Books
ISBN: 9781782761334

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All of humankind is living on a single train. I know British commuters feel that way at times, but this is a much different circumstance – it is a train miles long, running non-stop as a self-contained unit across tracks circling a desolately frozen Earth, moving on endlessly until, perhaps some time in the distant future, the planet can recover from the cataclysm that froze it. It's certainly been going on long enough for it to have a culture – a hierarchical society from the rich and leisured classes near the front, through the orgiasts, past the useful carriages set aside for producing food, to the underclass at the end. It's all set in its routine, set in motion. But there are two fishes out of water – a man from the rear who escaped, and a middle-class woman working with civil rights campaigners.

That this society onboard so easily mirrors western culture is evident, and perhaps laboured too much. The script certainly carries it across well, without pinning down any precise metaphors, and all the while, with its own slang, the world of the train is given its own character. But that's not to say the plot is not to the fore, for as simple as one might expect it to be, it does always have something hidden in the next carriage.

That movement from one carriage – and with a train this long, there is a lot of them – is not so much helped by the artwork. The black and white design works well, but the style and costuming do make some of the men too difficult to differentiate at times. On the whole the collaboration works, and I saw something of the early 2000AD in the representation of underdogs in a strange future world. The artist certainly doesn't find many problems in what he is tasked with, either showing a fight in a tight corridor or the endless vehicle itself in one of the episodic chapter breaks.

That episodic nature is of minor import, for the book does move almost as easily as the train (and fast enough almost for you to not ask where the equivalent of Network Rail are, maintaining the tracks). It has a history – it's thirty years old, but presented in this sterling new edition, for the first time ever in English, brings something worth visiting to the shelves. The symbolism of living in a container, moving endlessly through a frigid world, is not treated nearly as unsubtly as it could have been, and while this certainly makes me want to witness the cinema version that inspired its translation, I am also grateful I could read the actual book at last.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Revolver by Matt Kindt is a different kind of dystopian graphic novel, and one that will certainly open people's eyes.

Buy Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette at Amazon.com.

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