Everfrost’s second issue slows the rapid pace of the first issue as it continues to build out this fantastical world and its characters while keeping the story of the main character Van. All this growth unfolds across gorgeous pages that buck conventional comic page and panel conventions to deliver a deeply engaging and otherworldly yet relatable story.
Comic books are just like every single other storytelling device that human beings have created over time. There is finite space in which to really tell one’s story in a way that conveys the desired information and in the case of fiction, engage the reader in various ways to make them want to keep investing in the story.
For comics that finite space is generally of the twenty-page variety, sometimes a little or a lot more and sometimes potentially less. As noted within the review for the first issue, Everfrost is a series where every bit of that finite space per issue is being used to really flesh out and build the world that the creators have envisioned for this story.
In that same previous issue review, there was a section where it noted that there were things that didn’t immediately click even on a second read, making sure to point out that this is a good thing as it makes one think. Well in this issue one of the things that flew past in the last issue clicked, that Van actually was gone from her world for quite some time. This realization made so much fall into place and actually works so well to put the reader into Van’s place somewhat as she too is learning about this world alongside us. Being allowed to have a point of view through the character’s eyes is a great tried and true storytelling technique that is pulled off brilliantly here.
Each of the moves that Ryan K Lindsay pulls off here makes for a story that is only getting stronger & more engaging as it goes along. Which is truly what most creators hope is the case with their work. He makes mention in the back material of this issue about changing the pace and exploring the world through character interactions. His hope that it allows investment in the scenes/sequence and shows more of what they have planned definitely worked out.
Thrusting Van right into the thick of things and centering this all on family, through one of Van’s interactions early in the issue to her mission to find and destroy all the clones created from her son’s DNA, help create that investment even more. Any story that leaves you craving more, the next entry, has achieved an automatic victory. This issue achieves that.
That achievement most assuredly also comes from the truly stunning work from Sami Kivelä and Lauren Affe to bring this world to life in such detail. More and more there are books on the stands where artists are playing around with the formatting of panels and the use of white space and how they display a story. This is a growing trend that I heavily support and love to see.
Panels being smaller sized within another panel or leaving crisp white borders between each panel just makes things pop even more. The standard style of comics with panels is great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes one has to be willing to think outside of the proverbial and literal boxes to present something unique.
It especially helps with the fluid and dynamic nature of the action sequences within the issue, not afraid to have the ‘camera’ focus be on objects or small motions rather than full scenes of the individual characters at times.
As stated, there is a ton of interaction and building going on here and Jim Campbell makes it all work with the lettering. The dialogue/captions dance alongside the various different types of panels so that it’s never overloading a page/panel and never obscuring that which is happening. In any comic, the use of SFX is an art form all its own really. Many letterers have taken to really making them unique and stand out, but that’s not entirely what I’m referring to.
There are books where a lot of SFX fits the style and makes the world even richer, superhero books often being the type that has a lot to match the amount of action within every issue. Then there are times where, as the saying goes, less is more. In the sense that one uses the SFX strategically at the correct moments for the most impact within their given story. This creative team wisely chose the second route and delivered two very effectively used instances of SFX in the whole issue.
While this issue answers more questions and builds more of the world, there is still so much to question and discover. Which is fantastic on all accounts. There are things about this world that we see in the background that won’t factor into the overall story, they are just elements of this world, and won’t be explained in the final two issues and that’s great.
Too often there is a desire for every single detail to be explained about a story. Sometimes, as established above, less is more. This is Van’s story and it’s an engaging and very relatable (in the sense of what one might do if something taints the memory of one they love) story.
Everfrost #2 is now on sale in print and digitally from Black Mask Studios.