Author: Jacques Lob
Artist: Jean-Marc Rochette
Hardcover: 110 pages
Publisher: Titan Comics
Snowpiercer is the enthralling and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic graphic novel that inspired the critically acclaimed movie starring Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four). Originally published in French, this marks the first time that Snowpiercer will be available in English.
In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice.
The surviving community are not without a social hierarchy; those that travel at the front of the train live in relative luxury whilst those unfortunate enough to be at the rear remain clustered like cattle in claustrophobic darkness. Yet, things are about to change aboard the train as passengers become disgruntled…
Until now, Snowpiercer has been what I can only describe as phenomenally inaccessible. It began its life as French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. Having only been published in French, I couldn’t check it out like I had wanted to when the first trailers arrived for Bong Joon-ho’s Korean film adaptation, Snowpiercer, which, as you might have guessed, hasn’t been released here in the states. So when Titan Publishing announced the first English translation of the graphic novel, I jumped on the opportunity.
The best parts of this book are the framework that it gives to the story and the great artwork. I love the idea of a world thrust into a state of panic and in humanity’s rush to survive, several hundred people jump on the world’s first perpetual motion train to begin a life around those tracks that would essentially never change. The world, having been jolted into an unlivable ice age, has nothing to offer the inhabitants of the train who continuously press on with the only hope that one day they may find a place to stop and rebuild.
But that’s just the big picture. The small picture inside the train is of an unfair class system divided by carriages with the most poor and forgotten in the tail section. This book tells the story of one man’s escape from the tail section of the train and his pursuit to the front.
The book seems to have very little in common with the movie adaptation as far as the story goes, keeping in mind that I’ve only seen trailers. But it seems like a great deal of work went into rewriting the story of the graphic novel for the movie, and honestly I hope it did. The actual story and dialogue of the book was its weakest point. There is a strong possibility that this could be a case of “lost in translation” but there is a good deal that just doesn’t flow or make sense as the story unfolds.
Regardless of the disjointed story that is woven throughout the graphic novel, the highlights and details are worth the purchase of this book. Without spoiling you, just the food is really interesting to read about. But there are many other well thought out details that make this book worth getting, it’s just the thread that weaves them together isn’t especially coherent. I actually think that once you make peace with that it’s still very enjoyable and an interesting dystopia to dive into.
I give Snowpiercer Four Out of Five Stars.
Snowpiercer is available for pre-order from Amazon! Here’s a link!