Whiteout, Vol. 1
Whiteout: Melt, Vol. 2
By Greg Rucka
Greg Rucka has an uncanny ability to write a good story. Some people, specifically found within the comics industry, rely on the good work that has come before with the characters they are given. On the other hand are authors like Rucka, who go out and make their own great characters.
Also published by Oni Press, who I must thank for providing me with review copies, is Whiteout. A fantastic crime book situated entirely in Antarctica, Whiteout once again proves the above statement. Focusing on Carrie Stetko, a U.S. Marshal working at McMurdo station in Antarctica, the gritty and realistic story is captivating, and you’ll soon see yourself finished each of the four issue series in no time.
Originally released in four issues during 1998 and a sequel — Whiteout: Melt — in 2000, Rucka manages a trick that many authors fail miserably at. Instead of relying upon a handful of characters to act as the leads, Rucka allows Antarctica itself to be a major lead.
Whether Rucka has ever been to Antarctica, knows someone who has been, or was himself a U.S. Marshal exiled to Antarctica, I don’t know. But regardless, you get the feeling that he knows exactly what he is talking about. And the black and white art that accompanies these issues allow the story to once again remain at the forefront of the readers mind.
In the first volume, Marshal Stetko must investigate a murder which takes her traveling from one Antarctic station to another in an attempt to quickly and effectively locate the killer. But on a continent where no weapons are allowed, law is haphazard at best, and where the weather would as soon kill you as notice you, her job is a tough one.
The second volume had to be different, according to Rucka, and different it was. The grim reality of Stetko’s life in Antarctica sees her take a job she’s not really qualified for, that eventually sees her tracking Russian commandos across the ice in an attempt to retrieve nuclear weapons.
You will be absolutely entranced by these books. I prefer to allow a book or comic to take a few days to read, but I could not put either of these down.
Whiteout was nominated for Eisner Awards for Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Limited Series, and Best Graphic Album in 2000, and is currently being made into a film slated to be released April 24, 2009, starring Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht.
These two stories don’t take long, but once again Oni Press has managed to craft a trade paperback edition that is beautiful to hold, and is just the right size. These are definitely worth your time, and as with many of Rucka’s comic book works, you need not be a comics aficionado to appreciate them.