Snowpiercer 1: The Escape

snowpiercer volume 1 the escape jacques lob jean marc rochette titan books le transperceneige
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Strong sci-fi story finally translated

Ending could not sit well with everyone

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Snowpiercer

Publisher:  Titan Comics

Writer:  Jacques Lob

Artist:  Jean-Marc Rochette

Release Date:  2013


The never-ending trudge to death

The world has collapsed and the only surviving sign of humanity is the Snowpiercer.  A supertrain houses the last of humanity as it travels fast enough to keep off the frozen world that threatens to kill them.  When a man named Proloff escapes from the end of the train where the poor fight for survival, he finds himself teamed with a woman named Adeline Belleau who hopes to liberate the poor with others who share her beliefs.  Traveling further up the train, Proloff sees how the other half lives…and learns that other half has plans for his end of the train.


Religious cults…they survive the apocalypse!

Written by Jacques Lob, Snowpiercer Volume 1:  The Escape was a French comic book called Le Transperceneige originally published in 1982.  The critically acclaimed graphic novel had never been translated, but the release of a film version by Bong Joon-ho (director of South Korean film The Host) has finally led to an English translation by Virginie Selavy for Titan Books.

From the description, Snowpiercer sounds like a rather typical and unrealistic dystopian graphic novel…something that the market is flooded with.  However, when diving into Snowpiercer it becomes obvious there is more than a cliché story, and it is a rather clever science-fiction tale.

The idea of a supertrain just running and running seems honestly rather stupid.  The clever thing Snowpiercer does is answer the questions you are asking.  I found myself wondering about food, plants, and other aspects right before the comic answered them.  Almost every question is answered, and it is surprisingly pretty logical.


The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor

The story is real science-fiction.  It raises lots of social questions and through the course of the story and it makes surprisingly harsh choices for the characters.  I honestly didn’t know where the story would end and was surprised by the choices.  The whole last sequence of the story could pose problems for some readers, but I liked the coldness to it (pun intended).

Jean-Marc Rochette’s art is also quite strong.  The black-and-white comic is presented nicely with nice crisp and clean.  I often struggle to keep characters straight with black-and-white comics but the book did a good job distinguishing the characters.

Snowpiercer was worth the wait.  It is an interesting graphic novel about a dystopian society which still manages to do different things that other similar stories have not done.  What is interesting to me is that despite being over thirty years old, the comic still feels fresh and untouched…by now Hollywood or someone would have generally combed over the ideas in the story.  Fortunately, Snowpiercer was spared…it will remain to be seen however if the movie will translate the popular comic.  Snowpiercer 1:  The Escape is followed by Snowpiercer 2:  The Explorers.

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Snowpiercer (2013)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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