Monday, September 19, 2011
Listed in "500 Essential Graphic Novels" as: Crime/Mystery (Top 10)
Contains: Whiteout #1-4
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Steve Lieber
Hello, faithful Comics Questers. Sorry it's been a few days. I had a rather lazy weekend, then got wrapped up in (fantasy) football, napped, and battled a headache. But anyway...
Here we are at our second "Top 10" pick of Mr. Kannenberg's great book and the first I've reviewed labelled "Crime/Mystery". Let's take a quick look at Whiteout.
We open at the "Bottom of the world. Antarctica." Tortured U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko, whose husband passed from cancer less than a year after they were married and who killed a violent prisoner once upon a time, has come here to perhaps forget all those awful things. She is, after all, though, an agent of the law and will continue to come upon her share of violence. As the story opens, she's crouched over a dead body.
As you can see, the body is intensely frozen in the arctic ice and the face is mutilated. We come to find out that the killer is one of five males in hundreds on "the Ice" (which is what the folks who live here call Antarctica). Marshal Stetko begins investigating, but it seems everything and everyone may be against her. Attempts at killing her and seeming double-crosses keep her hands full as she seeks her suspect.
Writer Greg Rucka has penned a good, solid story with compelling characters here. U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is a great character, dishing it out to those who'd stand in her way and struggling with the memories of her tormented past against a backdrop that matches her cold demeanor. We never know whether the characters that she's interacting with are ultimately plotting to help her or to hinder her and Rucka (along with Lieber's art) keeps the tale taut and exciting.
As I said, the story is good and solid and I really loved some of the characters, especially Carrie Stetko. She was tough, funny, mouthy, and relentless in the search for the killer. A truly realistic and memorable character.
In the end, though, plotwise, this one isn't really all that groundbreaking. We've got pretty much your run-of-the-mill murder mystery, only with very interesting characters. Despite the very fine points that both creators have worked in here, the end result may not be something I'd deem "essential" and certainly not at the top of that heap.
And with that, a short volume gets a short review.
My final opinion: Even sensational characters, fantastically visually represented yet interacting in a run-of-the-mill plot equal middle of the road for this reader.
Mr. Kannenberg's rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 3 out of 5
10 down, 490 to go
Come back next time when we'll have a little "Fun with Milk and Cheese". Be well and we'll see you then.