In Review: Cold War #1

Cold War is unbelievably hot! Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: An outstanding pair to track down for this premiere issue. The A cover is by Hayden Sherman and shows Tom Rook beginning to stand after being spat out by his cryogenic chamber. He doesn’t look too happy about waking from his five hundred and eighty-two year slumber, but there’s no time for apologies. Tom is a buff guy and looks incredibly strong. The coloring on this is terrific with the goop that’s covering him a blue blue green concoction. I like this image, but it reminds me a lot of an image from Frank Miller’s Ronin. I can’t recall the specific image, but I can’t help think of the Moebius inspired images from that series. The B cover is by Juan Doe and it’s the cover I picked up. I don’t know why, but there’s something that’s just fascinating about someone in a clear upright tube, swirling in some sort of liquid. In this case the liquid appears to be blood. I love the subtle background around Tom and the monitors that surround him. As with the A cover, the coloring on this is fantastic, with the combination of greens and reds mesmerizing. Overall grades: A A- and B A+

The story: The premise for this book is very simple. Tom Rook is emptied from his cryogenic sleep of over five hundred years and taken to join several others like himself. They are greeted by a taped transmission by the President of the United States, Triste Renton. They have been awakened for a cause. Suits that will deflect some ballistics and auto-cauterize minor wounds clothe them. Guns that run on nanoballistics ensure they will never run out of ammunition are in their possession. Helmets that will diagnose injuries and allow them to communicate are also provided. The U.S.A. is at war and they’ve been drafted. Before the door opens on their craft, Tom calms them down. “Breathe. Panic won’t change this.” Before the door to their ship opens he reflects on what brought him to this point. He worked in the military, openly and covertly, on all types of missions in “elite squads, divisions they don’t have names for.” Christopher Sebela interrupts this flashback because the doors open and the action begins. I haven’t run across a war book this exciting in years. Anything goes in battle, with new recruits getting knocked off left and right. Why wouldn’t they? These recruits include insurance agents and daycare center workers; just average joes who thought they would wake up to Eden. And these soldiers don’t fall just from weapons fire, there are several nasty devices the opposing side uses to kill in horrific ways. And who is the enemy? There are glimpses, with assumptions made, but no solid conclusions. T=One thing is clear: they are terrible and unrelenting. They also come in different forms, as the terrors on the final two pages show. I loved this story. I loved this character. I need more. Overall grade: A+

The art, the colors, and the letters: Hayden Sherman is a true triple threat when it comes to the visuals on this book, being responsible for every aspect of them. Heck, he’s really a quadruple threat, being co-creator of this book with Sebela. This book has visuals that are strong as hell. The mix of the familiar and the new is fantastic. The book opens with Tom in stasis, covered in a eerie alien green. Emerging from his tube, he falls onto an orange circle which quickly inflates like a beanbag and moves along the floor taking him to the room with the other awakened fighters. Looking at all those characters in their black suits, sitting in orange beanbag chairs, against a white background is incredibly striking. Giving this an additional futuristic feel is the lettering for the computer that speaks to them — it looks like 80’s computer font and it’s awesome. When Rook stands on Page 4 he’s revealed clearly to the reader for the first time and he looks great. When he helmets up he’s got a very Judge Dredd feel and he’s thrilling. When the new soldiers go into action it’s incredibly vibrant and exciting. Because the initial attack is simple, it’s a very brutal scene. The sounds are perfect. from the tiny THWKKs to the terse FWOOMs. In the city, the threat is revealed and they are very stylized, leading the fighters to have conflicting ideas of whom they are battling. Sherman walked a really fine line with the design of these characters and he carries it off brilliantly, leaving the reader in as much doubt as the soldiers. Page 16 is my favorite of the page, with the present blending into flashbacks and the colors assisting the reader in identifying which is which. The deaths that are the first three panels on 20 is amazing, leaving the reader to agree with one person’s account of the killings. The new antagonists that end the book have a frightening visual aspect to them, accentuated by Sherman pulling in closer to that element. In the credits in the back of the book Sherman is only listed as doing three other series before doing Cold War. After reading this book, I’m going to have to track all three down. This book’s visuals pulled me into its world instantly. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The only downside to this book is that it’s only twenty-two pages long. This book is amazing. A simple premise that becomes a furious battle in a questionable landscape against questionable foes. The protagonist is terrific and the visuals are epic. This book is a jewel in futuristic warfare. Cold War is unbelievably hot! Highest possible recommendation of the week. Overall grade: A+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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