Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape HC
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Price: $19.99
Creator(s): Jacques Lob (writer), Jean-Marc Rochette (artist)
Format: 110 pgs., Black & White, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-7827-6133-4
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In the near future an ecological disaster has put the world in a state of perpetual winter, and humanity's last survivors are huddled into a massive train that never stops called Snowpiercer.  Near the front a few live in luxury while the masses live in squalor at its tail and when one of those unlucky passengers named Proloff escapes his carriage it destabilizes the status quo.  Now, accompanied by a beautiful activist name Belleau, Proloff begins a perilous journey all the way to the perpetual motion engine at the front that drives the train.
From the high concept premise I naturally assumed Snowpiercer would be a standard issue gritty post-apocalyptic action thriller, or maybe even a pitch black dystopian comedy along the lines of Judge Dredd.  So imagine my surprise when instead I discovered that it was more of a metaphor for class inequality and income disparity that's as odd and absurd as anything in the works of Kurt Vonnegut.
Oh, don't worry, there's plenty of nudity, sex and violence to be found, but it's definitely not much fun as it takes its premise absolutely seriously and efficiently shows how existence in that situation would be a waking nightmare.  It's very well done but works betters as a metaphor than actual science fiction; as presented I can wrap my suspension of disbelief around a "perpetual motion" engine.  But given that even brief exposure to the cold is deadly, how do they maintain the rails?
--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.

The English translation of the graphic novel was directly timed with the expected American debut of the movie adaptation, which will see limited release this spring (see "'Snowpiercer' GN Releases for Movie").