• Columns 

    Tradewaiter – Colder

    By | October 14th, 2013
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    You noticed this book. With a cover like that, how could you miss it? But is “Colder” as attention grabbing on the inside? Short answer: yes. Longer answer:

    Written by Paul Tobin
    Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra

    Declan Thomas, an ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, has the strange ability to step inside a person’s madness – and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him.

    152 pages / $17.99

    The story opens at an insane asylum in 1941. It’s not your normal insane asylum though – it’s filled with fiendish doctors and human experiments until it mysteriously catches fire. Unfortunately, their experiments accidentally open a door to a Hellish place and release a terrible thing. Before leaving to quietly wreck havoc for decades, this thing visits Declan, an inmate in the asylum. Declan is cursed to become colder…

    Fast forward to the modern day. Declan’s records were destroyed in the fire, and he’s been bouncing from institution to institution in a comatose state. He’s not aging, his body temperature should be impossible, and no one can figure out why. He eventually winds up being taken care of by just one nurse. When the same monster from six decades ago happens to cross their path, Declan wakes from his long slumber and must use his strange abilities to protect the woman who’s taken care of him.

    *Note – the crazy scene on the cover does not actually happen inside the book

    Tobin has certainly created a rich world in “Colder”, one which is complex and deep enough it’s clear there’s more to it than just this one miniseries. While both Declan and the demon Nimble Jack get their fair share of time on the panel, the real emotional core of the story comes from the nurse, Reece. She plays the role of the reader, asking all the questions you need explained and giving you someone to worry about. This is a common trope, but Tobin plays it with expertise. The rest of the small cast is handled almost as well; they don’t resonate quite as strongly but are still very unique individuals.

    As well as Tobin handles his characters, he does struggle when it comes to presenting his premise. One of the main tennants of good comics is to show instead of tell, but Declan’s very original ability does not translate easily to visuals. Consequently, the flow of the story is sometimes interrupted for explanations which seem a little too direct and concise to be natural. These moments are brief and the pace is immediately resumed thereafter, but they stick out enough to be noticed. In theory, this is something which will be less common as the series goes on, and in practice it’s worth the bumps to get the whole package.

    Speaking of Declan’s gift translating visually, it does provide the opportunity for Ferreyra to show off some crazy skills. And let’s be honest: no matter how intriging you thought the premise was, the cover grabbed your attention more than anything. While nothing quite so gruesome appears in the main story, there are some astounding splash pages presenting the world as seen by the insane. Throw in the terrifying designs for some of the other demonic creatures in this realm, and the images are awesome enough to make you stop reading and just enjoy the view. Imagine M. C. Escher crossed with H. R. Giger and you’ll have a good idea of what’s instore for you withing “Colder”.

    In the more mundane parts of the book, Ferreyra still delivers solid work. The whole cast, from the stars to the background extras, have very unique appearances without being overly stylized. When they move, they actually appear to be in motion. DC’s lenticular covers have nothing on these flat pages. A lot of credit for this goes to the colors, which were also done by Ferreyra with the help of Eduardo Ferreyra (his brother maybe?) and Laura Binaghi. Under a less confident brush, making Declan’s whole body blue – hair and clothes included – might have been hokey. A cold guy can’t wear a red shirt? Instead, it looks completely normal and makes him visually different from the rest of the world.

    Continued below

    If purchased as single issues, this story was previously worth $20. The collection is being sold for $17.99, which is a decent discount. To add even more value, it includes ten pages of sketches with commentary from Ferreyra. Some of it is insightful, some casual, all of it interesting. There’s also an ad for the next volume, “Colder II: Bad Seed”, which is coming out next year. This is great news, because Tobin and Ferreyra have only skimmed the surface of the possibilities in the world they’ve created. This series is going somewhere, and you should get on board now. You won’t regret it.

    Final Verdict: 8 – Buy

    //TAGS | Tradewaiter

    Drew Bradley

    Drew Bradley is a long time comic reader whose past contributions to Multiversity include the Minding MIND MGMT, Small Press Spotlight, and Tradewaiter columns, along with Lettering Week and Variant Coverage. He currently writes history-based articles. Feel free to email him about these things, or any other comic related topic.


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