In Image Comics/Top Cow’s upcoming comic The Freeze, the entire human population is affected by a mysterious global event, with the exception of one person, Ray Adams, who possesses the ability to unfreeze people. The cover suggests something much bigger than that, perhaps Ray is reviving select people, but why?
Writer Dan Wickline (Shadowhawk) and artist Phil Sevy (Tomb Raider) are hesitant to confirm whether The Freeze is or isn't a story about simple time manipulation, but they did exclusively share with SYFY WIRE more clues about what the story is about, as well as four pages from the first issue.
“You’re hearing the story from Ray Adams' perspective," explained Wickline. "He is thrust into a position of power that he doesn’t necessarily want. He doesn’t know what happened or what’s going on… so the reader has to find out along with him.”
“The Freeze is a single global event that works as the catalyst for the new society. In a lot of ways what happened is only part of the story, where what happens next brings forth a lot of the drama.”
Top Cow describes the series as a survival story where "man's true nature" is the biggest threat. With society needing to be rebuilt, Ray's choices for who is left frozen and who to "set free" offers up some bigger themes of the choices we make, our prejudices, and commentary on humanity.
While part of the story is explaining the event of the Freeze, communicating that in a comic can be tough to pull off. When readers get their hands on the first issue, they’ll see clocks frequently on display. Could these be visual hints, or a simple storytelling device?
Sevy offered this point of view: “Dan wanted to make sure the audience could track the passage of time in the first issue. I decided to take that idea and apply it to the layouts of the first issue. Each page that takes place in the present is presented in a 9-panel grid. There’s a nice sense of time and pacing in that layout – it felt like a metronome ticking away. It also gave me more space to put clocks in panels to draw attention to the relations of events to time.
“The clocks play a similar role to the nine panel pages, creating a sense of claustrophobia and confinement until the big reveal halfway through the first issue,” Wickline revealed. “There will be hints along the way, but solving the mystery of what happened is just a part of the story.”
The phenomenon that takes place requires the art to tell a lot of the story, and show who is able to move and who is not. Also, even though people were frozen, that event did not apply to objects that were already in motion. Sevy explained some of his challenges ahead of him.
“Conveying movement (or the lack thereof) in comics is a tricky proposal. One thing that Dan wanted to examine in the first issue is the consequences of motion. It became a fun challenge to both convey that people weren’t moving (so having to draw them from multiple angles over time and show how they remained the same) but objects were (the resultant car crashes, etc).
So one person is able to unfreeze people, which gets the wheels rolling about what the rules are in this world.
“In any good sci-fi you need to establish the rules of your world," Wickline added. "But part of the story here is about the new society being built and how all of the old rules are gone. So while we start with the simple rules that all humans are frozen except Ray and only he can unfreeze them, we have to remember that those are the rules Ray perceives and may or may not be true as the story progresses.”
Wickline says that The Freeze will start out with an initial four-issue arc with the idea of doing more if it finds its audience.
“My initial concept was a three-arc set, but as I dig deeper into the world I keep getting more and more ideas worth exploring in this new world. In my mind it’s an ongoing and my fingers are crossed.”
See SYFY WIRE’s exclusive four-page preview of The Freeze #1 below. It comes out December 5, but you can place your preorders now through your local comic book shop or digital comics provider.