[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Inker: Luis NCT
The tale of Keaton and the world of Frostbite comes to a conclusion. Keaton kills someone (What?! No way!). She also saves someone…actually, a lot of someones. We learn about the fate of Boss Burns and Fuego (Um…see above with the whole Keaton thing) and we learn a bit about what it takes to survive on the ice, both literally and metaphorically. We also have hope for a second run of this book.
As is the case with all Vertigo titles, nothing is buttoned up and put away in a drawer nice and neat. The beauty of Vertigo titles is that we get to wonder, and Frostbite is no exception. There is no neat and tidy ending for anyone. Do you know why? Because the world is not neat and tidy. We do not always get to live happily ever after. Sure, we get to be happy and we get to have our own individual ever after, but we do not get to always have both. That is unrealistic. Heroes are not always wonderful and forthright. Sometimes, heroes are murdering A-holes. Sometimes villains have a point. What Williamson and Alexander do with this book is show us the moral relativism that is living in the real world.
Have you lied? Have you cheated? Have you taken short cuts? Have you done something for seemingly altruistic reasons only to have those actions turn to crap and hurt someone? You may not have answered yes to all of those questions and you may not really think that it is fair to compare your small transgression to causing a polar apocalypse or killing the person who created said apocalypse in cold blood or drowning a guy in arctic waters, but what are Williamson and Alexander want you to think about is how easily one thing turns into another. This world is of Frostbite is not that unrealistic. Do you trust every scientist who experiments with things beyond his or her control? Do you think that lying to your boss is not a big deal? Do you think that…Well, you get it.
Thinking is the key here. This is a book that deals with uncomfortable issues told by unlikable characters drawn in a stark, cold miserable, albeit beautiful to look at, way. Think about your actions. Are you any better? What is the one wrong move you could make that would leave you out in the literal and/or metaphorical cold?
I love that Keaton is not cured. I love the fact that the ending is ambiguous. Everything that I loved about this book, and this story in general, could be considered a negative. This is not a story for everyone. It is not a comic for the meek. It is real, and bloody and people die and that is sad and a gut punch. If that is not what you like, do not come fishing in these waters.
The team left us an opening for a second run. I, for one, vote yes.