The Freeze Volume 1
Troy Peteri (letterer), Phillip Sevy (illustrator and colourist), Dan Wickline (writer)
Top Cow Productions, Inc.
May 8, 2019
The world is swallowed up by an unusual apocalypse when the entire population is simultaneously frozen in place. Well, everyone except Ray, who immediately discovers that he is the only person capable of unfreezing the people of the world. In his initial panic, he tries to free others, but discovers that this isn’t as simple or rational a plan as it seems, with disastrous results for some of the people who he wishes to save. And that is the very question Wickline explores in The Freeze: does everyone deserve to be saved?
The first issue of the story flips back and forth between Ray’s life on the day of the freeze, and the current situation where he and a group of seemingly violent terrorists are playing god, using Ray’s abilities to determine who to free next. The story quickly develops around the society slowly being formed around Ray’s abilities, where some work with him at a practical level, while others elevate him to godlike status.
The Freeze dips into the “humans are awful creatures” angles of entropy that often plague post-apocalyptic stories. Law and order is thrown out the window and there are those who take that to violent extremes. But, while many post-apocalyptic stories dwell on the latter, in some cases offering definitively evil bad guys as an example of the worst humanity has to offer, The Freeze takes its time getting there as Ray and his companions painstakingly consider who to free from their frozen purgatory. And it’s only at the end of this first volume that we discover the truly horrifying potential his abilities have, when they are manipulated by the kind of villain who, while disturbingly violent, leans more into the psychology of horror and violence, resulting in a powerfully enticing cliffhanger.
One of the things that really stands out in The Freeze is the way Sevy distinctly differentiates between the frozen world and the people that Ray has freed. This is no easy feat, given that the medium is a static one. In an earlier interview with WWAC, Sevy explained the thought process that went into visualizing that distinction. It made me appreciate each panel all the more and spend a lot more time analyzing and admiring the juxtaposition of still life versus motion from panel to panel, page to page.
Sevy goes deeper into his thought processes in the backmatter, which includes some truly laugh out loud images of the “council of Phils” as he explains and displays how he uses himself as the model for his art. As hilarious as these explanations are—which is somewhat disturbing too, given the context of the particular images he’s posed for—it’s always fascinating to see the script to panel process, especially when the artist offers such unique insights. And again, despite how disturbing this particular panel is, I can’t help but admire the wonderfully diverse collage of body shapes.
There are many explorations of humanity and its will to survive versus its penchant for self-destruction. The Freeze is yet another such story for the post-apocalyptic shelves, but it’s one that manages to define itself with its patient storytelling and attention to detail in its visuals. Wickline is masterful and dropping twists at just the right moment, and, combined with Sevy’s art, The Freeze is filled with a whole lot of promise and chills.