Review: Nuclear Winter
Also known as Hiver Nucléaire, I stumbled upon this webcomic in my usual way: clicking around on Twitter and getting sucked into the rabbit hole of links and blogs.
This incredibly new web comic, which began in October 2012, is written by Caroline Breault (aka Cab), a French-Canadian. Nuclear Winter is set in Montreal after a nuclear accident that took place nine years earlier at the fictional Gentilly-3 power plant. The city is now covered in radioactive snow and follows the adventures of Flavie – a ski-doo courier – in a world where some people have been mutated by the fall-out. While Nuclear Winter is more comedy than dark, post-apocalyptic horror, it’s a really interesting backdrop and peaked my interest enough to start reading.
One of the initial draws I had to Nuclear Winter is that it’s originally a French comic that’s translated into English by the creator. This means that many aspects of it are French-Canadian (the author said she won’t change the signs, for example, that are originally in French) which give readers a glimpse into the culture. And, with my degree in French, I always grab at many opportunities that allow me to enhance and refine my language skills.
And since the webcomic world is surprisingly small (I’m amazed at how many well-known webcomic creators follow the work of other well-known creators), this is a fantastic way to find other comics written either in French, or by French-speaking people (or both).
There are several highlights:
1. The main character, Flavie, isn’t traditional looking (ie: tall, thin and busty) which gives it a very grounded appearance. I’m also finding that artists who draw more realistic characters tend to have overall more original character designs than ones who draw more conventional characters.
2. Léonie, a black woman as a major supporting character. The comic is so new that it’s difficult to say what part Léonie will play in Flavie’s life and the comic overall, but I’m always thrilled to come across webcomics that predominantly feature non-whites as major – or otherwise important – characters.
3. While art isn’t the most detailed, or mind-blowing – the coloring for Nuclear Winter really drew me in. I have a stronger preference for webcomics in color, but sometimes the colors are flat and don’t reflect things like lights and shadows. But in Nuclear Winter, I didn’t encounter this. In one group of panels, Flavie is driving her ski-doo at night, and I love how Cab used lights from near-by apartments to show how dark it is. When she enters her apartment, everything in the panels brighten, acting as a sharp contrast to her world outside.
Overall, I’d recommend this comic to anyone interested in non-American work, and those who like science-fiction backdrops for their webcomics!