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Polar: Came From the Cold Hardcover – November 26, 2013

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Polar Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Polar
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books (November 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616552328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616552329
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Polar: Came From The Cold jumps right into the action and doesn't let up until the very end. In an unusual form factor for a graphic novel, the stark images leap off the page. It's a visceral and satisfying read.

An older man and a woman are in a snowbound cabin as assassins creep up on him. We learn that he is a former agent known as Black Kaiser. We also learn pretty early on that he is not easy to kill. But his former employers at the Damocles Agency are determined and relentless. Black Kaiser is kidnapped and tortured at one point. If he gets away is for you to find out.

The art by Victor Santos is striking. It's reminiscent of Frank Miller's Sin City work. Blocky, abstract, minimal color. Some of the full page works are genius. The story is not new, but serves as a vehicle here to deliver great art. That's not a bad tradeoff in my opinion.

I was given a copy of this graphic novel by Diamond Book Distributors and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read this striking and artistic graphic novel.
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Format: Hardcover
The comic is about a retired ‘agent’ from which we can assume he is basically an assassin. For whatever reason ‘they’ want to get him and be rid of him as retirement is not enough for this character. I hope I am not the only one who thinks that the lead ‘hero’ looks like Nick Fury and I can only wonder if this story was originally pitched to Marvel for that character as with the minimal of tweaks and a couple of name changes it would fit perfectly. So the one eyed 50-something former ‘agent’ has to deal with team after team of people who have been sent to ‘retire’ him permanently. Eventually he tires of dealing with the minions and decides to take the fight up the corporate ladder to the top and end his pursuit with as much bloodshed as possible.

The comic is incredibly stylised using only white, black, red and the absolute minimum of detail with many characters being silhouettes or even negatives as they are ‘dealt’ with. If you gave this to me as the art for Amazing X-Men or any mainstream comic I would hand it straight back with a less than polite ‘no thank you.’ However for this book and this story it works incredibly well. It is hard to explain why but I am sure there are various metaphors for the character seeing the world in black and white, with no shades of grey and the only colour he sees is the blood red of his victims, but frankly I am above those sort of crass allegories and am quite happy to let it speak for itself.

To be honest this book should be everything I hate about comics. All story. with little text, told by art that I should not like, but this is a definitive example of something being worth more than the sum of its parts.
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Format: Hardcover
Polar: Came From The Cold owes a heavy nod to Frank Miller's Sin City: a noirish cold-war era type of spy thriller drawn in two color black and red, with femme fatales and evil villains, hard bitten heroes and a lot of atmosphere. Expect bright red lips or hair on heavy blocky black illustrations and you get the idea of the style.

A deadly spy has retired but finds himself the target of an assassination out of the blue. He must track down the snake to the lair in order eliminate the threat and return to his idyll. But the path is rocky and full of danger, friends will betray, and women will seduce.

If the premise sounds familiar, it shouldn't be surprising. We really have seen this styple over and over. It has all the noir cliches - embittered former anti-hero, buxom 1940s fashioned female temptresses, maniacal villains with quirky characteristics, the hard betray by those once trusted, etc. The story clearly owes a lot of James Bond as much as the artwork owes to Sin City.

Because this was originally a wordless comic, a lot is told in the images. Often, the reader is bombarded by a stylistic page of small squares full of little closeups. It can be a bit confusing. And yet, I did feel that perhaps the dialogue wasn't necessarily needed and more of a nod to 'stupid American audience who need to be told the obvious'. It lost a lot of the quiet feel by having the dialogue in there. And it focused intent that might better have been more nebulous and perhaps better left up to the reader to interpret. That mixture of disingenuous dialogue with ambiguous did bring the experience down for me, admittedly.

As romance is a draw for women, I think noir is the natural draw for men.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure what I'm going to rate this yet. I liked it, quite a bit actually, but it was missing something that couldn't make it completely thrill me. The art is superb and what I liked the most. It is abstract in many ways with lots of angles but also contains some detailed drawings. Red is used for a purpose. Some pages are covered in red, others may have a tiny splotch such as a drop of blood or a woman's high heels. Red is used for different reasons such as: sex, blood, violence, anger, emotions and sound. This is a book one could read more than once to just appreciate the art. Storywise, it was not what I expected for a thriller/spy story. The book is almost wordless and I've actually found out was originally completely wordless, with the author adding text for this new hardcover edition. Therefore the text is sparse and contains only dialogue, or inner thoughts. This can be confusing at times, takes a while to really figure out what is going on and of course means little character development. I was greatly intrigued with the story though. I'm not a big fan of wordless comics and that's my downfall with the book, overall. It took too much thinking on my part to "get" everything that was happening; having to reread some pages over and over before turning to the next. But in the end, I understood the whole thing, am fascinated with the main character and absolutely love the artwork. As you can see, I've come to a decision on my rating :-)
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