by Ollie Masters and Tyler Jenkins
Why in the world would anyone pick up and move from Louisiana to Alaska? That’s the question that the lead character is toying with early on in this brand new series, Snow Blind. Ollie Masters and Tyler Jenkins present a noir-influenced tale of a teen that suddenly finds himself wrapped up in something much bigger than he could have dreamed. The first issue is a strong introduction to the mini-series, containing some excellent set up and stunning art.
The cover image alone is so mesmerizing and impressively designed. Jenkins’s eye for layouts allows the front of the issue to be wondrously intriguing with just the right approach to capture the spirit of the noir genre and pay homage to that stylization. Inside, the book continues to evoke that vibe, placing the plot in the quiet setting of a snowy Alaskan town. This narrative choice, furthered through Jenkins’s characterization of the town and its landscape make for the right backdrop to this new tale.
Billy Ruffins, the book’s lead, brings readers into the world as he is driven home in a cop car having recently been caught breaking into another building. From his body language, preoccupation with a book, and self-admission that this has happened before, Masters and Jenkins have a very strange, yet almost enigmatic central figure. As the first chapter progresses, readers begin to understand the character rather quickly. The book’s text is mostly narration from the lead character, with very little dialogue actually appearing in the issue. This approach gives readers great insight into the lead, as he is the window into the world.
Master’s understanding of the genre and his establishment of the book’s tone through voice showcase a true sense of his craft. The interaction between Billy’s narration and the quotes from the book he reads as they interplay are a very nice choice for an introduction to the universe. The quotes, in isolation, are an excellent bit of construction, providing a subtle bit of foreshadowing to the story as a whole. The book is filled with intriguing choices such as this. Several points in the book demonstrate an interesting choice as the narration and art begin to diverge. In these moments, Jenkins’s beautiful watercolor landscape takes readers forward in the plot, while Masters keeps the narration lagging behind. In these instances, the narration as it stands still provides a sense of dreaded tension in tone as the visuals push the plot forward. The contrast creates scenarios where readers are left concerned for what is to come through Billy’s tone while they witness the scene continues to play out.
Design choices such as these, and the overall premise of this story make for a rather impressive beginning. Billy Ruffins may not be as unlike his father as he thought, and it would seem that everyone has their secrets. Masters and Jenkins certainly have struck a chord with the first issue of Snow Blind.