Warning! Spoilers ahead for Snow Angels #1 by Jeff Lemire and Jock!
Fans of the popular Attack on Titan series undoubtedly base the img of their rabid fandom on the eponymous Titans – and yet Comixology’s new series Snow Angels borrows some of Attack On Titan‘s plot points in a manner that creates a similar feel without the titans. More to the point, the setting of Snow Angels is similar to the massive walls in Attack on Titan that humans built around their settlements to protect themselves from the man-eating giants.
Rather than surrounding themselves in gigantic manmade walls though, humanity in Snow Angels survives within icy land formations aptly referred to as The Trench, which protects them from the barren wasteland beyond. There, the so-called Trenchfolk must abide by The Three Testaments of The Trench that have been drilled into them since birth and will be until they die: You must never leave the trench, the trench provides and the trench is endless.
In the case of Attack On Titan, no such rules exist as no one would be foolish enough to leave as this would entail getting devoured by Titans (that insanity is left for the suicidal militant group known as the Scouts whose sole purpose is to go beyond the walls). However, the Trenchfolk have another compelling reason that helps deter them from breaking the first rule. Those who venture beyond the Trench could face the wrath of the deceptively named Snowman. Interestingly, much like many of the characters in Attack On Titan, none of the Trenchfolk in Snow Angels have laid eyes on their respective monster … at first. Much like the first manga chapter and Anime episode of Attack On Titan, the final page of Snow Angels‘ first issue pits its main characters up against their monster, the Snowman. This creature is not a giant nor does it seem to feast on human flesh. It just simply kills mercilessly as made apparent by the bloody remains of their people.
Other similarities abound in Snow Angels #1 written by Jeff Lemire with art by Jock. Most notably, both peoples share an obvious disconnect from their respective pasts that seem to thrust them into a more technologically primitive state, and they either suffer from amnesia or are the victim of more nefarious means. Attack On Titan‘s human population were originally a technologically advanced species, but the merciless Titan attacks forced them to revert to a more agrarian-based lifestyle. It is later revealed that their understanding of their past was a lie.
Meanwhile, technology exists in Snow Angels‘ world, but when certain Trenchfolk come across a device that seems to emit a holographic map, they don’t understand what it is. As for their connection to the past, they simply do not know where they came from. This is either because they have just been living so long in The Trench that they simply forgot or they suffer from naturally or forcibly induced amnesia.
But that’s not what stands out. What’s truly captivating about this series is that the Trenchfolk face a more desolate and existential world than those in Attack On Titan. Aside from the terrifying truth about what lies within Attack On Titan‘s walls, their walled settlements are safe and everyone is familiar with every square inch. Meanwhile, the Trench is inherently dangerous. Few wander out beyond their settlements, not just because their Testaments incite fear, but because the harsh conditions of their world make traveling quite difficult and extremely unpleasant, even within their “providing” Trench. With so much left unknown, Comixology is setting up Snow Angels to be even more desolate and existential than Attack On Titan could ever hope to achieve.