There is a lot to digest within the twenty-five pages of this first issue and it comes at the reader rapidly, but it’s invigorating and engaging and leaves the reader with a great number of intriguing questions. Every page is a delicious treat that leaves one craving more as this bizarre and deadly and strange new world is developed panel by panel.
There are stories that slowly take the audience into the world they are presenting, holding their hand as the story works as a generous guide. Then there are the stories that take the audience and plunge them deep into the middle of a fleshed-out world and leaves them to figure things out as they are whipped along the roller coaster ride called a story. The debut issue of Black Mask’s Everfrost fits that second description completely.
There are pros and cons to both types of stories and neither one is the correct one to pursue. It all depends on the story. In this case, it is a tact that works, especially if one is coming in not knowing much about the series.
Truly what makes it work is the stunning art from Sami Kivelä and Lauren Affe, which brings this world to life in beautiful detail. Words are thrown about in rapid succession, with Jim Campbell giving them life upon the page, that says things about this world, but Kivelä and Affe make them truly sing. Every single design from the various beings that are seen, to the landscapes are detailed and full of life and just so colorful or muted depending on the given story need.
There is gravity and emotion within the flashbacks brought into the story, the choice to mix up the color pallet with a muted red tinge is always a great trick to be appreciated. It signifies that it’s not a part of the current moment of the story. but also gives it that otherworldly memory type of feeling. It resonates and our brains instantly recognize it for what it is. Not all teams pull it off in the medium, but this one does.
Emotion and personality fill every single panel and even those are not uniform in any way. There are the standard-looking type of pages with panel count and space and then there are pages where the team gets so creative about the shape and spacing. This allows for words to spread out of the panels into blank white space to really play into how different this book is.
There is a whole lot happening in just this debut issue which shows how deeply Ryan K. Lindsay has thought about this story and this world. It bodes well to see such a packed first issue because it makes one lean towards the idea that the following issues should be likely just as dense and packed. Science fiction-style fantasy stories can be a hard sell for many, so often one has to just dive in and lay it all out there to try and get the audience hooked and invested in the world. That is achieved easily within this hefty first issue.
Even double reading through the entire issue, there are still things that did not fully click yet or left the mind with questions, which is not a bad thing. Stories that make you think and wonder are often just as enjoyable or sometimes even more enjoyable than stories that might hand you the answers.
Everfrost #1 will be on sale from Black Mask Studios on June 02.