Whiteout—Volume 1

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7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10

The rigors of working in Antarctica

The mystery isn't as complex as I hoped

 
Comic Info

Comic Name:  Whiteout

Publisher:  Oni Press

Writer:  Greg Rucka

Artist:  Steve Lieber

# of Issues:  4

Release Date:  2007

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Whiteout #1

Reprints Whiteout #1-4 (July 1998-November 1998).  A series of murders are occurring on Antarctica, and U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko finds her job on the line unless she is able to find the murderer.  With every step literally potentially deadly in the bitter cold world, Carrie finds herself teamed with a British agent named Lily Sharpe who has motives of her own.  The winter is coming, and the killer must be caught before he escapes back to civilization.

Written by Greg Rucka with art by Steve Lieber, Whiteout—Volume 1 was published by Oni Press.  The series received critical acclaim and was nominated for Eisner Awards for Best Writer, Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team, and Best Limited Series with the collection also being nominated for Best Graphic Album.

I saw the poorly received film Whiteout before I read the comic book.  The movie was quite a letdown and I couldn’t help thinking about the movie while reading this book.  Though the story seems to imply mystery when there doesn’t seem to be much, the real interest of the book is the set-up.

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Whiteout #3

Whiteout is rough.  The comic book shows the grueling nature of working in Antarctica and that by far is the most interesting part of the story.  I always assumed that Antarctica was a vast, unpopulated area where a few different teams researched and did work in labs.  Here, Rucka presents a bit of a community where there are enough people that people can “go missing” and hide among the bases.  The horrors of nature are explored and just how quickly they can turn deadly is shown by Carrie’s loss of her fingers.

Carrie herself is a rather flawed character.  I found her and her co-detective Sharpe a lot like the characters of Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise.  They are troubled and both characters hide secrets.  Since Carrie is the narrator, you get a bit more of her story…though it might be somewhat realistic, it isn’t very compelling and that is a flaw of the story.

The mystery of the book however isn’t very mysterious.  With only four issues and a very Columbo-esque approach by pretty much cluing the readers into who the bad guys are, the mystery gets sidelined when it could have been the fun part of the book.  I wanted to figure out myself what was going on and didn’t want the blatant clues and secret meetings to give it away.  Also, the smuggling of the items used one of the rather cliché approaches I’ve seen in tons of stories through the years.

Whiteout is worth seeking out, and with four issues, a rather quick read.  The cover art is great with a perfect balance of light and dark, but the black and white comic could be even better with splashes of color among the white of snow.  Don’t judge this book by the movie and enjoy a different type of comic.  Whiteout—Volume 1 is followed by Whiteout—Volume 2:  Melt.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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