Snowpiercer The Prequel: Part 1: Extinction Review - The Day Crazy SJW's Blew Up The World
• Matz Rochette (Author) • Jean-Marc Rochette (Pencils)
With Snowpiercer: Extinction I've consumed 3 pieces of media related to the growing franchise. I watched the film; read the original graphic novel and now the prequel. This series is said to be a prequel to the television series. I've yet to watch the show so I guess I'll be adding it to my growing list of Snowpiercer related content.
What I liked about extinction is that it lines up well with any version of Snowpiercer you've consumed. The creator of the train is a futurist that believes that cataclysm is coming and designs the train to get in front of the inevitable. He isn't anything like Wilfred from the film but the story behind this scenario still works as headcanon.
The irony of the conflict portrayed in the book is that the apocalypse is manufactured. Even more counter-intuitive is that the apocalypse is sparked by the actions of an extremist environmentalist group. The opening scene shows a group of poachers being executed after killing a family of elephants. Because I'm a bleeding heart when it comes to animals I was totally on board with the retribution.
The scope of terrorism quickly escalates beyond anything a rational person could support. At what point does activism become problematic? Where is the line between activism and terrorism? The scenario presented is surreal. It portrays the action and dialogue of the terrorist faction in a way that's not too far removed from the unhinged rhetoric you tend to see on social media. It's like if you gave some of these twitter sock puppet accounts a gun to go along with the mean tweets.
Surprisingly, the train appears to have been created for wholely altruistic purposes. The creator has an ego but he's more concerned with solving a problem rather than playing god or being the twisted savior portrayed in the film. The series can still go down that path but we're not there yet. The ultimate goal of Snowpiercer is to provide a way for humanity to survive the apocalypse while the terrorists look for a way to incite it. It's really interesting to me that both sides agree that the end is near.
The art direction is really gritty and sketchy. The book keeps the art style from the original graphic novel which is fine from a storytelling perspective but means that the book is pretty drab with no real standout moments. Comparatively speaking Jean-Marc reminds me of Charlie Adlard. He's great at conveying this sort of story but it's not the most exciting material to look at.
I really appreciate that although this is the first part of a 3-part series, this volume feels complete. The nearest example I can cite to Snowpiercer is Doug TenNapel's Big Foot Bill graphic novel. The volume tells a complete story that feed's into the next without cheating you with a cheap cliffhanger and naturally progresses to the next volume. This book started and ended in a completely different direction than I expected and kept me guessing on how the book would actually end. Even the last page hit me with a surprise. Most prequel series feel like cash-grab tie-ins but Extinction stands on its own as a worthy addition to the franchise.