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Victor Santos' 'POLAR: Came From The Cold' Review

By Andy Frisk
November 19, 2013 - 21:21

Black Kaiser is the most deadly of Cold War relics: a nearly unkillable espionage/wet works agent who has loosed his skills upon the free market. Old Cold War prejudices die hard though...almost as hard as Black Kaiser.

Victor Santos (Mice Templar, Filthy Rich) pays homage to the best comics noir in the vein of Frank Miller's Sin City series and provides his readers with the best example of that type of sequential art since Frank Miller's original Sin City with POLAR: Came From The Cold. Adapting and enhancing, mainly by giving a voice to, his web comic of the same name, Santos breathes new life into what has become an almost quaint genre in mainstream sequential art. Focused heavily on the violent and sex filled life of the former (Soviet) block operative, Black Kaiser, POLAR: Came From The Cold manages to avoid being unoriginal, and therefore boring, by visually conveying more nuanced thematics than any of Miller's Sin City tales ever did. At one point, Santos even effectively blurs the lines artistically between sex and violence, demonstrating that they are both same residents of the same side of the emotional and physical spectrum, albeit with very different consequences, most of the time. He manages to do this with very little, if any, graphic depictions of sex. The story's artistic style allows for the imagination to fill in the black and white spots in the visual narrative, just as any noir worth its salt should.

One could spend more time than one has examining each panel of POLAR: Came From The Cold and analyzing its visual dynamics and themes, but POLAR is just as gratifying a read for what it is topically: an action packed tour de force of sequential art storytelling. Each page pops with action and Santos' use of sparse orange-red coloring is provides just the perfect point of contrast visually to keep the reader from becoming snowblinded, by all the bright whites and inky blacks. Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of POLAR: Came From The Cold though is that the promise of more of Black Kaiser's stories exists.

The type of story that leaves the reader wanting more Polar: Came From The Cold is another worthy entry in the already highly critical and commercial success that is Dark Horse Comics' already massive catalog.  

Rating: 9.5 /10

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Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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