Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Whiteout

Go To

Whiteout is the first comic book written by (at the time) crime novelist Greg Rucka, published by Oni Press as a 4-issue miniseries from July to November 1998, and follows U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko's investigation of a murder at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

A sequel, Whiteout: Melt (September 1999 to February 2000), deals with the theft of hidden nuclear weapons from an ex-Soviet base. A film adaptation of the first book was released in 2009, directed by Dominic Sena and starring Kate Beckinsale, Tom Skerritt, Gabriel Macht, and Columbus Short.

Whiteout contains examples of:

  • Almost Kiss: Carrie and Lily. Repeatedly.
  • Butch Lesbian: Carrie, though she still wears her hair in a feminine style, and she was married to a man in the past. The second series revealed that she isn't purely lesbian.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Carrie killed a crook whose testimony would have been integral to a major trial, but she wasn't fired because she killed him in the course of saving her superior, whom the perp had incapacitated. And her husband died of cancer just before their first anniversary.
  • Empty Quiver: Whiteout: Melt.
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: The story follows U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko's investigation of a murder at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The sequel, Whiteout: Melt, deals with the theft of hidden nuclear weapons from an ex-Soviet base.
  • Fingore: Carrie has to have her right index and middle fingers (left middle and ring fingers in the movie) amputated due to frostbite-induced gangrene.
  • Flashback Nightmare: The incident that led to Carrie's assignment to Antarctica is presented in a hypothermia-induced hallucination.
  • Human Shield: Gets done to Carrie. See below.
  • Indy Ploy: When Lily encounters a hostage crisis. See below.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Lily taunts a killer using a Human Shield into pulling the trigger because she knows the extreme cold will prevent the pistol from firing. At least, she hopes it will.
  • Lovely Angels: Carrie and Lily in the first Whiteout, but averted in the film adaptation.
  • Rape as Backstory: Carrie was sent to Antarctica after she killed a suspect in her custody who had tried to rape her and had already nearly killed her boss.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Literally, in Carrie's case.
  • Shout-Out: Carrie drinks coffee out of a Dykes to Watch Out For mug.
  • Shown Their Work: Greg Rucka did extremely detailed research into the nature of Antarctica before he began writing the first story. Details on the Antarctic environment, the operations of the research stations and international treaties concerning the continent are woven into the narrative.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Lily and Carrie have a lot of tension between them, deliberately, to reflect the same tension that often arises in Buddy Cop Shows. Thoroughly resolved without Lily in Melt.
  • U.S. Marshal: Carrie.

The film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the comic book, Carrie is somewhat heavyset and not particularly attractive. In the movie she's Kate Beckinsale. Yeah.
  • Chickification: Greg Rucka mentioned that he did not like the film adaptation because they made Carrie weak, although as he said, "At least they got rid of the scene in the script where she hears someone following her and runs away — what was she gonna do, call the cops?"
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot: The aviation equivalent. The Soviet pilot catches a stray bullet in the back of the head and slumps forward on the control yoke; putting the plane into a nosedive.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: Carrie and Pryce discover that the canisters Haden is attempting to escape with have been swapped for ones containing jellybeans.
  • Fanservice: There is a scene of Carrie taking off her clothes and taking a shower. Full showers are not allowed at McMurdo to conserve water.
  • Fingore: Carrie has two fingers amputated after developing gangrene due to frostbite. She later threatens to cut off Haden's fingers while interrogating him.
  • Harmless Freezing: Averted. While running away from the killer and losing her gloves, the heroine falls and touches the Antarctic ice with her hand. After returning back to her base, she shows a frostbitten hand to the doctor, who is then forced to amputate two fingers.
  • Hostile Weather: An imminent storm forces base command to move up the shutdown of the base by three days. Circumstances force Carrie, Pryce, Delfy and Doc to miss the last plane out, meaning they will be stuck in the base for 6 months. Then the final confrontation with the killer takes place outside during gale force winds and whiteout conditions.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Carrie and Pryce assault Haden and then threaten to cut his fingers off while attempting to extract the location of the canisters.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Doc gives the new arrivals at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station a lecture on exactly how dangerous the Antarctic environment is to the human body, and also tells them what a 'whiteout' is. This means that the viewer knows how much danger the characters are in later, without having to pause the action to explain it.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Carrie ends up getting two of her fingers frostbitten, and her doctor friend has to cut them off in order to save the others.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: A particularly ridiculous example, where someone says that the radar went off the charts. Given that radar isn't actually used to measure anything, how it can go "off the charts" is a mystery.
  • Right Behind Me: Carrie is attacked by the prisoner they are guarding who has somehow escaped from her partner. After a brutal fight she wins and rushes to check on her partner, only to find him on the radio announcing that the prisoner has just escaped and killed Carrie in the process.
  • Shovel Strike: When Carrie catches up with the murderer after he has killed Rubin, she brings him down with a blow from a shovel, and then hits him several times while he is on the ground for good measure.
  • Shower Scene: Kate Beckinsale has one for purely fanservice reasons, even though "Hollywood showers" are not allowed at the South Pole due to water restrictions.
  • Slashed Throat: Mooney is killed by having his throat cut. When Carrie finds him at Vostok base, he is still trying to speak and blood is still gushing from the fresh wound.
  • Spotting the Thread: Non-incriminating example. After meeting Pryce at Vostok, Carrie is originally suspicious of his story of being a UN investigator flown in to Antarctica. She also quite reasonably believes he could be the man who killed Mooney and attacked her, because the assailant was wearing full-face cold weather gear. But on the plane ride back, Pryce develops a nosebleed, and Carrie realizes that Pryce has not had time to acclimate to Antarctica's low humidity, and couldn't have been at Vostok long enough to kill Mooney and ambush her.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: When Carrie is being chased at Vostok, she loses one of her gloves. When she opens the metal door, her hand freezes to it and she has to tear off a large chunk of skin to free herself. The hand later gets infected and requires the amputation of two fingers.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: The canisters are concealed inside the body of one of the murder victims, so they will be flown out when the base is evacuated.