This has been an exceptionally apocalypse-obsessed decade in terms of fiction. Maybe it’s the toxic political climate, or the ever-looming threat of climate change. Hell, it could be one of hundreds of other existential threats and anxieties confronting us every day. Either way, the apocalyptic fiction field is getting crowded. Fortunately, The Freeze #1 from writer Dan Wickline presents a new and refreshing take on the genre.
A mysterious event causes everyone on Earth except our protagonist, Ray, to freeze in time. It’s up to Ray and those he revives to decide how they can—and if they should—bring everyone back.
What makes The Freeze #1 stand out is that it isn’t your standard viral mass extinction or global war scenario. This is a much quieter and more novel brand of global cataclysm. At the same time, the power to restore the world lies in the hands of one individual. This risks dragging us into “chosen one” territory, but at this stage, there’s no explicit indication that’s where Wickline is headed.
The book does a good job of relaying information to the reader without handing out exposition. For example, frequent and deliberate glimpses of clocks and phone screens throughout show the passing of time, cueing us into the fact that time isn’t frozen…it’s the people that are.
The dialog throughout is well-written and believable. That’s a challenge to pull-off given the book’s unique premise, but reactions feel genuine and believable. And in terms of plotting, it was a smart idea to start-off with an action sequence that works as a framing device for the beginning of the story.
Without giving anything away, The Freeze #1 starts out with a hook, and doesn’t let go. This is the kind of story you’d like to see unfold slowly.
The art provided by Phillip Sevy has a distinctly soft, almost pastel vibe. Lines feel slightly sketchy, which actually works well with the artist’s style. It feels refined, while standing out from the polished work you’d see in a lot of major press titles.
The Freeze #1 is dominated by contrasting color palettes. Warm oranges and yellows dominate the more animated panels, while icier blues represent the frozen figures.
I have no complaints at all about the line work. My only nitpick is that, at certain points, the washed-out colors feel almost unfinished. It doesn’t necessarily look bad, and it’s clearly a deliberate stylistic choice, so not a pressing complaint.
The Freeze #1 is an intriguing opening chapter to this new story. Readers looking for something new from the sci-fi or apocalyptic fiction genres should definitely pick it up.