Eye Of The Storm
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its eighty-ninth choice, Whiteout Compendium by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber and reviewed by Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Steve Lieber
Today’s choice is the Whiteout Compendium. Whiteout and Whiteout: Melt are two detective tales featuring US Marshal Carrie Stetko who is stuck in Antarctica. When Whiteout came out back in 1998, Oni was just a fledgling company and writer Rucka had written a few very well-received detective novels. Even though it was Rucka’s first comic script, you really wouldn’t know it. He uses the Antarctic setting brilliantly and his dialogue is razor sharp. Lieber is the perfect artistic partner here too with his wonderfully expressive faces and simple yet effective action sequences. The fact that Whiteout is in stark black and white really makes it impactful for the reader. Stetko has great chemistry with British secret service agent Lily Sharpe here and Rucka really gives his protagonists unique voices. A clever, inventive murder story which takes place in such an unusual setting, Whiteout was a very strong and assured comics debut.
Its follow-up, Whiteout Melt, wasn’t quite as good as its predecessor partly because of the absence of Sharpe. Here we see Stetko team up with Russian GRU agent Aleks Kuchin to get to the bottom of some stolen nuclear weapons and Russian special forces who are bent on taking them back to Russia. There is still decent rapport between her and Kuchin but the reader misses the back and forth between Stetko and Sharpe a little. Lieber is still on top form artistically, bringing the inhospitable world of the Antarctic to life with style and élan once again. Melt is still a very decent detective story showing off Rucka’s economy as a writer.
Rucka and Lieber have planned a third adventure with Stetko called Thaw but it hasn’t happened as yet.
Whiteout and Whiteout: Melt are two very well-delineated slices of comics crime fiction. The first tale does read a little better than the second but Melt is still a very good piece of work. Rucka is one of the best comic writers to debut in the last twenty years or so and Lieber is a classically talented artist who manages to feel vintage yet contemporary at the same time.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far