Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Reads You Review: The Wake #1

THE WAKE #1 (OF 10)
DC COMICS/Vertigo – @vertigo_comics

WRITER: Scott Snyder
ARTIST: Sean Murphy – @Sean_G_Murphy
COLORS: Matt Hollingsworth
LETTERS: Jared K. Fletcher
COVER: Sean Murphy with Jordie Bellaire
VARIANT COVER: Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (September 2013)

Part One

The Wake is a new 10-issue miniseries created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Sean Murphy.  Snyder has described The Wake as a “deep-sea, sci-fi, horror epic, with elements of post-apocalyptic storytelling...”  The series follows a marine biologist who investigates new threats from the depths of the ocean.

The Wake #1 takes place in three different time periods.  Two hundred years in the future, a young woman and her dolphin companion are on a quest in a half-drowned city.  In the present, Lee Archer, a marine biologist in exile (sort of), is approached by Agent Astor Cruz of the Department of Homeland Security.  Cruz is calling upon Archer to examine and to give her analysis of something that was found at the bottom of the ocean.  The final chapter of the first issue takes place 100,000 years ago with a cave painter.

The Wake #1 is a great big tease.  In recent decades, comic books are published in which stories are “decompressed,” and those stories are told in arcs that can run five or six issues or more before the conclusion.  This means that comic book writers have to find ways to keep readers interested in buying multiple issues.  There are often single panels, scenes made of several panels, or sequences of pages that are more about sensation than storytelling.  Ultimately, a reader could pay $18 to $30 for what is basically a short story that is told as a 100+ page graphic narrative, so titillation is needed to give the reader a reason to keep buying future issues.

The Wake #1 barely classifies as a chapter.  It is bits and pieces of various prologues with some nice “gotcha” moments and shocking-reveal panels to make investing in a second issue seem worth it a comic book reader/comic book customer.  The Wake #1 is not a bad comic book.

Sean Murphy’s art that is published in color has a clean, attractive drawing style, and Scott Snyder is a good modern comic book writer.  Both have done quality and entertaining work, so on the reputation of the creators alone, The Wake is worth a look.  If lesser known or even unknown creators had created The Wake, I doubt Vertigo would be publishing it.  Maybe, Image Comics would.  That said, I do look forward to trying the second issue.


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