The second volume of Titan Comics’ collected Snowpiercer comics combines the second and third stories in the series. These, written by Benjamin Legrand after the death of Snowpiercer‘s original creator, progress the plot but move onto a different train with similar issues. There’s still a class war going on but the ruling councillors of this train have a better grip on its inhabitants than the masters of the first. At least, they do when this story starts.
Arguably, Snowpiercer 2 takes some liberties with the plot and the technologies put in place in the first book. Here the train stops for men in thick thermal space suits to go out and explore the train’s surroundings, which is an interesting concept but it savages the first book’s already wobbly premise that the trains have some kind of perpetual motion power source that keeps them running on very little fuel.
The explorers themselves are an elite force but they put their lives on the line, and inexplicable deaths occur too regularly. Some of their job appears to be bringing back artefacts from the frozen world outside the train, though these become trinkets for their masters and not the answer to the train’s problems, as the explorers are promised.
Most of the action in the book takes place on the train, as revolution and counter revolution vie for control. Then a signal is heard from what could be another group of survivors and the train’s leaders must decide what to do about it.
The switch of writer alters the vision of the book and it’s not a change for the better. Too many liberties are taken, less care is given to the background (not that it wasn’t already a bit flaky) and while the story is competent and interesting enough to hold interest, the characters have less depth.
I thought Rochette’s art wasn’t as refined as it was in the first book, though his scratchy, monochrome style suits the bleak future, and everything looks as cold and dull as can be.
I enjoyed this second book to an extent, but not as much as the first. This is always a disappointment, leaving a feeling of decreasing returns on your book-buying investment.