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World War I comes back with horrifying force in the brand new Image Comics graphic novel. Out this September, White Death is the brainchild of Robbie Morrison (2000 AD) and Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead). The story concerns rifleman Pietro Aquasanta, with the Italian army, who returns to what was a realm of wonder adventure in his childhood during World War I, but has now become a sterile world of death and despair. To quote from the introduction to White Death: “The bodies were those of two Austrian males, aged 17 and 18 years old. They weren’t, however, holiday-makers who had fallen victim to a tragic ski accident. Both had bullet-holes in their skulls and had been frozen in the snow and ice of the Presana glacier for almost 100 years. They were First World War soldiers who had fought in a relatively obscure part of that conflict, now known as the White War.”
Those chilling words do set the tone for this piece of work. Explaining the significance of the title to this dread-inducing tome is Morrison himself, “‘White Death’ is a slang term used to describe avalanches in French and Italian Alpine regions,” which he even ties to the story’s main themes, “and in my head, the avalanche became a metaphor for war — a terrifying, irresistible force that remorselessly consumes and destroys everything in its path.” For his own part, Charlie Adlard saw White Death as a new direction in his career: “I hadn’t been aware very much of the concept of creator-owned comics and, yet, here I was, doing just that. White Death eventually formulated my world view and opinions on where I wanted my career to go after this.”
White Death will clock in at 104 pages and be available to comic retailers on September 3rd, and to regular booksellers on September 16th. Thoughts and comments would be appreciated below.