Ethan Schneier brings to audiences a frozen war in an apocalyptic world with his new comic Blood in the Land. Well, maybe not completely apocalyptic for some people. But this would be a world that no one currently living anywhere near a tropical area would want to be a part of. Taking place on an earth with nothing but “ice and blood”, this setting has vicious monsters known as the Clawrix everywhere. These creatures have adapted to this climate and have a taste for human flesh. All the while, a new weapon puts this war on the brink between factions scrambling for resources.
Ethan Schneier does everything for Blood in the Land as the writer, artist, letterer, etc. Crown Obsidian Productions publishes this piece that pairs together two mysterious protagonists with very different motives. This world in Blood in the Land revolves around H.A.L.E., a military faction with a monopoly on all resources, that has committed war crimes across this frozen terrain. Much of the global population keep to themselves from H.A.L.E.’s operations, aside from a few rebel groups. This brings us to our two main characters Kelsey and Gavin.
Having her home destroyed in a past H.A.L.E. raid, Kelsey gravitates towards a group called the Vitals, who saved her from this attack. The Vitals is a ragtag faction fighting against H.A.L.E.’s oppression and continuously attempting to steal supplies from their enemy. One of their main targets is a specific kind of fuel that can power snow motorbikes, trackers, and other essential tools of survival in this climate. However, after a failed mission, Kelsey is on the run from both H.A.L.E. and the Vitals, led by commander Arden Knight.
As Kelsey encounters a pack of Clawrix, she runs into Gavin. Gavin is a mysterious figure whose motives are unclear as he travels with Kelsey after their first encounter. He doesn’t even tell Kelsey his name until he’s forced to, going by “Clawrix Man,” for the majority of Blood in the Land. But very soon it becomes clear that Gavin has had a past as a soldier with H.A.L.E. Especially as he leaves behind a blood-soaked trail of H.A.L.E. soldiers and Clawrix. Prompting both fear and curiosity from his traveling companion.
Kelsey, on the other hand, barely knows how to shoot a gun. But throughout the comic, she strives to redeem herself with the Vitals. However, Gavin doesn’t trust any of these factions, seeing them as one of the same in their motives. The two bicker like a family for much of their journey as they run into many obstacles along the way. Making for a captivating story, with plenty of blood and guts to go around. While Blood in the Land has solid visuals, the dialogue is definitely this comic’s strength.
The back-and-forth between Kelsey and Gavin as well as other characters showcases Schneier’s writing talent. Giving all the characters distinct personalities and humanizing them in the process. This character development builds to scenes at the comic’s end that have an effect because of the emotional connection that the reader builds with our protagonists. Overall, Blood in the Land is an exciting read that is a fun dive into this frozen landscape. Schneier makes up for the icy setting with characters that are anything but stiff.