Comic Review: British Ice (IDW Publishing/Top Shelf Productions)

Seeing how it’s winter and all, and all the snowmen are still on guard for thee, it’s appropriate that we see the release of British Ice, from IDW. This original […]

Seeing how it’s winter and all, and all the snowmen are still on guard for thee, it’s appropriate that we see the release of British Ice, from IDW.

This original graphic novel is the creation of Owen D. Pomery. Pomery is from South London and has a background in Architecture. A lot of his previous work is of grey-scale (not colour) renderings of environments, usually interiors.

Speaking of interiors, this story delves into the interior life of a very very small community in northern arctic Canada. Well, it is located in the Canadian Arctic, but Pomery has created a fictional narrative around the location, making it a British Overseas Territory. Therefore the Brits are ‘in charge’, despite the community’s inhabitants being primarily Inuit and other northern peoples. And there is a history of murder, torture, and colonialism.

It’s 1984. Harrison Fleet (great name!) is posted on this island and is charged with looking into what has gone on there in the past. The settlement is isolated, and Harrison is further isolated by being ostracized by the locals. It seems there has been ‘bad blood’ between whites and aboriginals for many many years.

This is a slow-moving story. Monolithic as a glacier, as gradual as global warming, as inevitable as the snow. But this works in its favour. Harrison gets to know the land, the peoples and makes some fundamental discoveries that lead the story in a dramatic direction. It ain’t all staring at the snow and wishing it were summer.

The drawings are fitting; Pomery renders the northern environment much as we might imagine it. The island’s history is well illustrated, with Pomery substituting a warm grey halftone style for the past, and a cool grey palette for the present. A subtle colourless shift in visuals. Pomery’s environments, unsurprisingly are well done. His people and animals are perhaps a bit rudimentary, but this type of illustration style can actually enhance the remote and alien feel of this fascinating story of the far north.

Based on a premise that is totally believable, you may believe that British Ice is a graphic novel to pick up and inhabit.

IDW British Ice, $14.99 for 130 pages, Not rated, presume Teen

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!