Winter Is Coming: “Snowfall” Issue #1 (Review)
Story by: Joe Harris
Art: Martín Morazzo
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Michael David Thomas
Snowfall occurs in the year 2045—ten years after a devastating climate crash that rid the country of winter. The United States has been split into resettlement zones and rechristened the Cooperative States of America with the Hazeltyne Corporation at the helm. Issue 1 introduces us to the White Wizard—a man using the weather to fight the system. His first act? Bringing back winter.
The plot’s synopsis sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Having someone using weather as a weapon—like X-Men’s Storm—sounds awesome. Instead of it being a supernatural tale, however, the story is set in a pseudo reality. What if there was a cataclysmic climate disaster? In writer Joe Harris’s mind, giant corporations would privatize natural resources, which is an idea that really doesn’t seem too farfetched. Unfortunately, Snowfall gets bogged down in the details. The first page starts off looking quite whimsical, introducing the story like a fairy tale, which weaves throughout. The dark blue captions with italicized white serif font are depicted like torn pieces of paper scattered across the pages painting the picture for the readers. The art and design here remind me of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman—even the introduction to the White Wizard in the next few pages is very Sandman-esque. We get to see robots patrolling the streets like soldiers, and children playing in the snow. Then, we’re transported into a classroom lecture—a cliché attempt to explain the key plot points to readers. Throughout, there are too many different dialogue boxes and information bubbles to keep straight, making the pages and design overly complicated. Even aspects that are initially positive—like the blue fairy tale captions—seem unnecessary as the issue goes on. The issue is definitely front-loaded with a lot of information that readers are expected to memorize for the issues to come.
The story follows Anthony Farrow, a student obsessed with finding the White Wizard. Anthony is interesting in the sense that he is fearless, or maybe he’s just naïve. He walks right to the White Wizard’s door without any regard for his safety. In my opinion, the reveal of the White Wizard is a letdown. The mystery behind him—especially how he looks on the cover under a shrouded hood with only two bright red eyes peering out—was exciting. Early on, however, you get to see the bottom half of his face, which makes him more human and less interesting at the start. Toward the end of the issue, Anthony uncovers his identity—and the character is truly unlikeable. The reveal completely removes the intrigue we get from looking at the cover.
Martín Morazzo’s cover portrays the White Wizard shooting snowflakes out of his palm. The sci-fi-esque font choice for the title feels spot-on, especially as you get more details about the storyline. The interior art, however, just doesn’t cut it. It’s definitely a step back from the strong visual on the cover. The creativity in the character design is lacking. In almost thirty years, I would expect there to be some sort of change in fashion to differentiate it from the modern day (just think of all the differences in style between the 1960s and 1990s, for example). This doesn’t mean everyone has to be dressed in silver spacesuits, but some sort of imagination would’ve been welcome. With Kelly Fitzpatrick’s flat and muted colors, the art itself is just not aesthetically pleasing to me. Morazzo has given almost every character the same-shaped face and pointy chin. The robots and the depiction of the White Wizard (other than his reveal) are interesting and visually appealing. Morazzo should use their design to inspire other aspects of the artwork. Morazzo clearly has talent, and hopefully, it shines through in the issues to come.
Snowfall is off to a rough start. Although the storyline is interesting, I’m not sure if I’ll stick around for the next issue. It may be worth waiting for the trade. If Harris can streamline the plot a bit more and make the characters more relatable and interesting, he might have something here. Right now, the narrative is a convoluted mess of information and design. A touch of simplicity would go a long way.