If you knew you could freeze your body and wake up 582 years later, would you do it?
As of this moment (unless scientists know more than they’re saying), cryogenics isn’t a certain science, but in the AfterShock series, Cold War, Tom Rook is waking up, and so are a bunch of humans besides him.
Written by Chris Sebela, with art by Hayden Sherman, Cold War opens with a great shot of Rook suspended in liquid. There actually isn’t water until further down the page, when you see Rook spilling out of a tank and onto a chair that looks like a bean bag version of the hover chairs from Wall-E, yet you know he’s in water from the simple detail of bubbles around his mouth. Temporarily green, like Frankenstein’s monster, the colors create awareness that this science is experimental. The orangey-red accents indicate it’s dangerous.
Waking up after centuries asleep is no small thing, and you can sense that Rook hasn’t moved from Sherman’s art. Arms and legs dangling over the sides of his seat, Rook is a rag doll with no muscle memory. Sherman’s almost too convincing, for while these images make you think Rook will have to work to build up his strength, the effect is more than slightly tarnished when Rook walks moments later, nary a wobble in his step.
That’s the kind of recovery his circumstances require, for when Panacea Curonics sold people on extending their lives, I’m sure they didn’t mention “war” in their pitch. Revived and thrown into battle, you needn’t hear someone say, “This isn’t what we paid for,” to suspect that might be the case, but then this isn’t a possibility you prepare for, is it?
Cold War includes some flashbacks (and Sherman’s choice to use teal ink instead of black during these scenes sets the perfect, visual contrast) but they all pertain to how Rook became involved with Panacea. For insight on the world they left behind 582 years ago, we’re pretty much in the dark, and honestly, while it feels horrible to say, as a reader, you couldn’t ask for a more exciting turn of events.
Because while in hindsight you can say they should’ve been clearer on the details, before trusting their lives and money to Panacea, ‘don’t bring me back to life in a war zone’ shouldn’t really need to be said.
Why did Panacea bring them back now? Was 582 years agreed upon from the start? Was it left to their discretion? When you’ve been suspended for 582 years, what’s one more? They could’ve waited until the fighting passed. What led these people to choose cryogenics? Was it a fad for those who could pay, or did something drive them to it? Did they know it would be a success?
Except for too many helmets, obscuring who’s who, you couldn’t ask for a better first issue, and that beginning, where Panacea goes through their automated spiel, welcoming Rook back to consciousness, is Sebela’s writing at its best. Lettered by Sherman, you can tell which parts of the message aren’t pre-taped, like Rook’s name, because they appear in capital letters. One of the words is HEALTHY. You’re reminded of how quickly that can change.
Cold War #1 is on sale now.