Review – The Spider King: Frostbite (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Josh Vann
Artwork: Simone D’Armini
Colours: Adrian Bloch
Letters: Chas Pangburn
Release Date: 9th January 2019

For anyone who missed it, The Spider King was one of my favourite reads from last year. A heady brew of Morse warriors, aliens, swords and psychics, combining a punchy story and art that I grew to love. Given how much I enjoyed the limited series I was stoked with the possibility of more, but does Frostbite manage to capture the same magic?

Set in the fallout of the events of the Spider King our small band of warriors – including, but not limited to, a clanless chief, a mutated horse, and an alien outcast – are currently searching for a hearth where they can rest up in their search for the remaining crash sites. Trudging through the bleak snowy wastes on their way to Bordheim and the halls of Jarl Gisli, the band are accosted by possessed wolves and crows leading to another adventure in the saga of Hrolf and the Laxdales. A psychic parasite, escaping from a containment vessel of the downed starship has infected the beasts of the forests surrounding Bordheim and it’s up to our merry band to get to the bottom of it all.

Once again D’Armini and Bloch absolutely knock it out of the park with the art here. It’s easy to miss the muted colours until you’re hit with the contrasts of ectoplasmic greens, techy blues, and the flash of flames. The details are great and, with this being a one-shot, the fast-paced crescendo of ever increasing threat and reveals of monstrous creatures helps to deliver panels and splashes you just have to stop and devour. On top of that there are alternate covers by Xurxo Penalta, giving a more traditional look, and Declan Shalvey, which forgoes the more ‘comic’ style to ramp up the creep.

I’ll admit it was with mild trepidation that I picked this up. There’s always that niggly feeling when you enjoy something so much first time round that any sequel or follow up might fail to deliver. I’m more than happy to say that Frostbite doesn’t just meet the bar set by The Spider King, but smashes right through it. The change of pace to cram a complete story into a single issue works really well with these established characters as you can dispense with pleasantries and dive more or less straight into the action. On top of all of this, we’re also given a short illustrated by Daniel Irizarri. With a similarity in style, albeit with their own spin, it’s nice to expand the back story of one of the characters.

If you liked The Spider King then you’ll probably already be planning on picking this up; you won’t be disappointed. Fingers and toes crossed for even more.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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