Fire and Ice #1 Review

Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Letters:  Taylor Esposito
Publisher:  Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 2nd, 2023

Fire and Ice #1 is a prequel to the Fire and Ice animated film from 1983.  The film was directed and produced by Ralph Bakshi, written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, with designs by the great Frank Frazetta.   And like most Frank Frazetta work, it’s filled with voluptuous women (wearing the least amount possible) and dark fantasy landscapes.  The film’s pretty amazing (check it out on Tubi).  This book doesn’t quite have the grandeur of the film, but it’s still an enjoyable read.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Fire and Ice #1 Review.

The Story

The thing I loved most about the Fire and Ice film was the number of great characters in it. There’s Nekron, ruler of the Ice Kingdom and a powerful wizard, forever wearily perched on his throne, obsessed with conquering the Fire Kingdom to the South. There’s Larn, the young warrior who has to fight alone when his city comes under siege from Nekron’s forces. Most significantly, there’s the mysterious Darkwolf, a powerful warrior who wears an animal skin mask, moves in shadows and is a man of few words.  He’s a fantasy version of Batman, Lone Ranger or Racer X, always showing up when he’s needed in a fight, wielding a massive battle-axe as he decimates opponents then disappears into the mists once the battle is done.

In Fire and Ice #1, we get to see Nekron, Larn and Darkwolf (as well as the witch Roleil and her giant son Otwa) years before the events of the Fire and Ice film, as the witch Roleil captures young Larn to use in a sacrifice that will increase the Ice Kingdom’s power. It’s a beautiful action-packed issue that pulls you into this fantasy world and never lets go.  You feel as if there’s danger in every direction, especially in the scenes where a pair of mother/daughter warriors navigate the forests of the Riverlands, culminating in an epic battle with Otwa the giant. It’s a great start to the series and I hope it has a long run.  I want to see every corner of this fantasy world.

The Art

Leonardo Manco’s art on Fire and Ice #1 captures the twisted brilliance of Frank Frazetta’s designs. The forests of the Riverlands are dotted with ominous carvings of panthers and other beasts.  Cliffs in the Ice Kingdom are shaped like enormous skulls, eerily peering out over the icy landscape. The women are drawn in Frazetta fashion, all voluptuous and scantily clad, always wielding a sword or some other weapon in their hands.  They’re all beautiful and formidable.

Final Thoughts

Fire and Ice #1 is a great debut issue, with beautiful art, great characters and a lot of sword and sorcery-style action.  You don’t have to have seen the Fire and Ice film to enjoy the book, so if you’re curious about the book, pick it up.  Recommended.


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