The Freeze #1
Phillip Sevy (illustrator and colourist), Troy Peteri (letterer), Dan Wickline (writer)
Top Cow Comics
December 5, 2018
After going through the sweet but mundane morning routine of his life and heading into the office to deal with the frustrations of co-workers and technology, Ray crawls out from under his desk to discover that everyone around him has, quite literally, been frozen in time. In an accidentally inappropriate moment, he discovers that, not only is he the only person that is not frozen, he is the only person in the vicinity that is able to free people from their frozen states simply by touching them. His next steps ought to seem obvious, but he quickly discovers that using his new found abilities can have dire consequences too.
“The idea for The Freeze,” explains Wickline in my November Pubwatch, “popped in my head many years ago when I was a computer programmer and saw a co-worker sitting so still that it appeared he was frozen.”
Knowing the concept of the story and dealing with the static medium of comics somehow made each panel all the more chilling. Several times I found myself flipping back to pore over previous pages to see if I’d missed a clue to the mystery of the phenomenon. This is a credit to the way Sevy brings the story to life, by stopping everything in its tracks. Using tricks with shading, objects, and the separation of warm tones and cool tones, Sevy clearly defines the differences of a world frozen and those who are free to move about within the chaos. Yet, Sevy has done so with enough subtlety to make the reader feel as if they are moving through this strangely frozen world in slow motion. This becomes immensely powerful when Ray steps outside of his office building to see the true extent of the damage this situation has caused. Sevy pulls no punches with the depictions here.
The mystery of Wickline’s story is heightened by the opening sequence, which takes place after the freeze event that we flashback to a few pages later. Here is where we first meet Ray and have to reconcile his actions and the seemingly sinister people he’s with, with the sweet gentleman who kisses his mama and speaks fondly to his dog before heading off to work with a lunch bag with his name on it in hand.
The first issue of a comic book series needs to grab the reader with characters and an impressive plot hook, something that a lot of premier issues fall short of lately. The Freeze succeeds at both, leaving loads of questions unanswered, which means continuing on to find out what this phenomenon is and how Ray and his companions deal with it is top priority. While there are no overtly horror themed images in the first issue, covers of future issues imply that things might get a little gory, but hopefully that won’t outweigh the psychological terror that the story already evokes so far.