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Cold Heat #4
posted April 20, 2007
 

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Creator: Ben Jones, Frank Santoro
Publishing Information: PictureBox Inc., comic book, 24 pages, April 2007, $5
Ordering Information: JAN073808 (Diamond)

Cold Heat doesn't work like most action-adventure comics, mostly because of the range of effect achieved by artist Frank Santoro. Santoro's art is simple and open and dependent more on giving us sweeping, evocative moments than a reality from panel to panel that's dependent on representational art. That sounds like excuse making, I know; but Santoro can flat-out draw. His loose-seeming art in Cold Heat isn't a point of retreat but a choice that allows him to bring in any number of powerful effects without upsetting some sort of cartoonist-fan contract on what is and isn't allowed. This allows him to depict this issue's alien encounters and moments of temporary kindness and intimacy without affectation or melodramatic build up. The dramatic moments arise out of the power of the moment rather than depending on an appreciation for how they're rendered. Most of the successful adventure comics of the last few decades count on one or two moments of raw, emotional recognition to hook the reader into sturdy explorations of genre tropes. All Cold Heat offers is the rawness of a story based on fear and doubt and paranoia, and if it continues to get better, it could end being quite awesome.