Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whiteout Volume Two: Melt by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber

OK, I feel more than a little guilty including a second graphic novel in the Antarctica category of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge. As I said in the last post, Whiteout Volume One, I was desperate to find mystery/crime/thrillers set on this continent.

U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is back in what I think is the stronger of the two Whiteout stories. It is also much stronger as an action thriller. In fact, I would put it in the James Bond class.

The story opens with a brief history of human activity on Antartica and The Antarctic Treaty that declared that the continent was to be used for peaceful purposes only and anything of a  military nature is forbidden.

An unknown group has blown up the Russian research station of Tayshetskaya and killed the scientists. Tayshetskaya was the name of a Stalinist gulag which is an interesting name to choose for an Antartica base. Carrie, on vacation and enjoying the warmth and greenery around her, is bribed into investigating what happened at Tayshetskaya. She is the most experienced lawman handy and is offered a transfer off the Ice if she cooperates. Carrie has been in Antartica for five years and accepts.

On arriving in Tayshetskaya, Carrie stumbles upon evidence that the base was an arms depot that included nukes. Accompanied by a Russian investigator named Aleks, she takes off cross country to intercept the commandos responsible for blowing up Tayshetskaya and recovering the nukes.

As with Whiteout Vol. One, the illustrations are black and white which works well with most of the action taking place on the ice. It is fast paced, suspenseful,  with snappy dialog and good action sequences. Oh, and some hot igloo sex along the way. Lieber does a terrific job conveying the stark desolation of the interior of Antarctica.

Does Carrie get off the Ice? I'll just say that Rucka leaves the story open for another volume.