Review: THE WAKE #1

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Sean Murphy
Release Date: May 29, 2013

the-wake-1-coverThat is how you start a sci-fi horror mystery that reaches from the dawn of man into the 23rd Century. The Wake is simultaneously an amalgam of familiar story elements and something totally unique. Thrilling, scary, and beautifully drawn, Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy start their 10-issue maxi-series with an intensity that pretty much says “I dare you to turn the page, crybaby.”

The story is parsed out in 4 segments. Part 1 is set in our not-too-distant future. As we’ve already seen in the preview pages, things are considerably wetter than we’re used to, unless you live in Venice. A threat looms. Part 2 takes us to our current century. Dr. Lee Archer is really into whales. She’s run afoul of the U.S. Government somewhere along the way. And she’s a fan of the Flak Jackets. I like her. She’s also got a good ear for more than music, which brings us to Part 3. Archer and a team of guys (at least one of whom is super creepy) are at a super secret facility to solve a mystery. The mystery is a sound, a horrible sound by the looks of it. And remember when I mentioned it was a horror story? There is some classic creature feature stuff at work. Cut to Part 4. A caveman scratches pictures on a rock that have something to say about our modern-day mystery. How are past, present, and future connected? TO BE CONTINUED!

That’s as deep as I can go and remain relatively spoiler free. Scott Snyder exercises his gift for characterization well, giving you a lot with a little. There isn’t a tremendous amount of “getting to know you” time because this book moves. The pace isn’t rushed, but it’s definitely not leisurely. The combination of action and suspense got my adrenaline going; I ended up reading the book 4 times in 3 hours. Are we dealing with monsters? Aliens? A government conspiracy? I’m honestly a little infuriated with Snyder because he started 3 interesting stories at once and left me hooked. It’s brutal, like if I had to wait for Game of Thrones and Mad Men for an entire month between episodes.

The art is so good it makes me angry, though I think some of that is bleed over from that tease Snyder. Sean Murphy stole my heart last summer with Punk Rock Jesus. I don’t even have a frame of reference or a basis of comparison for his style because I’ve never seen anything like it. I can say he fits into my fetish for well-drawn, expressive faces. Unlike PRJ, this book is in full color, and oh mercy does Matt Hollingsworth bring the sexy. The splash page that starts Part 3 is so gorgeous I felt moved. Another thing I’d note about the book’s visuals is the use of shadows. Everything from people’s faces to the big reveal at the end are sort of half-seen, or glimpsed in a dim light. I think it adds a lot to the mood and tone of the story, making each image even clearer.

I can’t wait for what comes next. As a fan of horror, sci-fi, and suspense, I’m probably the target audience for this book. If you have even a passing interest in the concept, please do yourself a favor and pick up this issue. You will regret not jumping on at the start. Snyder and Murphy are a wonderful team. The story is something new and different. Get excited.

Verdict: 10/10


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  1. Xtreme123 said:

    it was good but I think a 10/10 is a bias rating. It had nothing new or groundbreaking in it.

  2. Matt SantoriGriffith said:

    Hmmm. Can you share what you mean by “bias rating”? I’m not sure I understand the phrase. I can attest that neither Alison nor any of the reviewers at Comicosity have any relationship with the creative team or publisher, so I’m not sure where a bias could originate?

  3. Xtreme123 said:

    If I may rephrase then. I have seen some of these reviews and as a fan of comics I can disagree and maybe my word was not the best choice. However, it seems to me that in cases such as this when one of your reviewer has a strong like or dislike of a book, it reflects and does not give an accurate depiction of the tale. I read the wake and it was not all she writes it to be. So I apologize for my use of the word bias. But as a fan of comics it did not deserve a 10/10

  4. Matt SantoriGriffith said:

    Thanks for the clarification. Reviewing is a very subjective endeavor, unfortunately — although oddly enough in this case, it seems a large part of the comic reviewers’ community agrees (it’s always strange when that happens!). That aside, thanks for the feedback!