London, 2079. Surrounded on all sides by dam walls, the last citizens on Earth are contending with claustrophobia. Cracks are appearing in the veneer of order, and moralities are as grey as the encroaching sea.
And in the back streets of Islington, a man with no memory wakes up in the road. A fresh tattoo on his hand brands him a criminal, but for what crime, he does not know. As a new threat looms in the underbelly of London, he either needs to stand and run, or be swallowed by the city, body and soul.
Whistleblower comes from the engaging world of Snow: The Dawn and sets out to expand the world created in that series. If you’re familiar with the series, or our reviews, then the fact that it is set in this world should tell you this no ordinary one-shot.
Writer Will Gillingham has cleverly crafted a visceral story which relies equally on its visuals as it does its dialogue. Many pages are only sparsely filled with dialogue in fact. Instead Whistleblower makes use of the striking visuals provided by illustrator Stuart McGarey.
The opening page assaults the senses in the most delightful way. The colouring is some of the most vibrant I think I have ever seen in a comic. It’s like the page is quite literally on fire. It’s a great jumping off point for the story, it was able to hook me in without giving away too much of what was to come.
Much of the book is bathed in these red tones. They tend to act as a visual cue that something major is going on. Whether it was a conscious decision on not it’s a clever way to indicate to the viewer to pay close attention.
These moments are punctuated by a more inky, murky world. Scenes which are awash with deep blues and darker tones. I actually prefer these darker moments because the colours are so cold and brutal. I’m not knocking the red, I’m just a dark colour kinda guy.
It all adds up to incredibly engaging visual world. This will easily be a book which you find yourself reading over again a number of times in order to take in all that the visuals have to offer.
Gillingham’s story complements the visuals perfectly. There’s a level of intrigue that I’ve come to expect from the Snow world. As our lead wakes up with no memory of what has happened we are plunged in to a mystery which is easily a page turner from start to finish.
Jack makes for a compelling lead. The mystery which is built around him makes him a reluctant hero in the story. Reading it I could picture the kind of noir, detective movie this could be adapted into.
Whistleblower also isn’t the kind of mystery which spoon feeds its reader. Gillingham avoids all the usual cliches masterfully. He chooses to avoid revealing details to the reader before the characters become aware of them. We’re on a level playing field with Jack throughout, piecing together fractured memories and uncovering the events of the night before.
It’s another hugely intriguing slice of the dystopian future first realised by writer Nick Goode and artist Harry Hughes. Their choice to hand over the reigns for this one-shot has proven to be a complete success.
Whistleblower is another excellent entry in the Snow: The Dawn Universe. It presents an intriguing mystery through stunning visuals. It’s an intense, exciting journey which undoubtedly left me wanting more.
The one-shot will be published by Black Spot Comics, writer by Will Gillingham with illustration and colours by Stuart McGarey. The new home of all things Snow: The Dawn. Be sure to check them out on social media @blackspotcomics.