The Wake #1 (Vertigo)


Rating: 4/5 – Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s newest collaboration

Proven talents Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy team up again in a new limited series from Vertigo titled The Wake.  The story’s opening scene takes place two-hundred years in the future.  It’s in this four page opening that we get a glimpse of what this story has in store for us.  We see an unnamed female character on a quest to find some type of treasure, futuristic technology attached to a communicative dolphin, and an imposing tidal wave about to flood an already flooded city.  The opening scene in just these four pages shows us an original and compelling world not quite seen before.

After this initial prologue, the story jumps to the present where we meet the main character of the story Dr. Lee Archer.  She’s a cetologist (a branch of zoology dealing with the study of whales, dolphins and porpoises) aboard a ship in Gig Harbor, Washington.  She’s approached by the Homeland Security Administration for help investigating a strange sound recorded from the ocean that doesn’t originate from any known creature or sea life.  Although reluctant at first, she’s eventually convinced to offer her help by the promise from the HSA assisting Archer in getting her son back.  Although where her son is, and why they’re not together has still yet to be explained.  The only clue we’re given is that her son is living on what Archer calls the “dry dry plains”. It’s with Dr. Archer that we start to see multiple examples of strong characterization from writer Scott Snyder.  Archer’s not the typical mom character.  It’s clear to the reader that she’s obsessive about her work.  We see this early on in an exchange between Archer and her son talking over video chat.  It’s clear that Archer is focused as much on her work as she is on her son.

After switching locales to what looks as though will be the main setting of the story, we see more examples of strong characterization when we’re introduced to the rest of the crew that Archer will be working with for the HSA.  Snyder is able to portray characters that are interesting and have depth.  Although Dr. Archer is given most of the attention in the story, with just a few panels and word balloons we’re left wanting to know more about the rest of this crew including Archer’s old boss, a college professor/author and a mysterious and quiet character known only as Meeks.

Scott’s strong characterization is matched with Sean Murphy’s detailed pages.  Each locale, time period and character is drawn with such detail, and he’s able to flex to the different themes of the story which include elements of both science fiction and horror.  Sean’s set pieces are beautiful to look at and we see that start before even opening up the book with the creepily detailed cover.  Although Sean’s thinner and “scratchier” (in a good way) pencil work may not be for everyone’s taste, the amount of detail and passion poured into each page is impressive.   It’s great to see Snyder and Murphy continue their work with Vertigo that was previously seen in their work on American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest.

This is a fantastic first issue that really sets the stage for what looks like will be an excellent ten issue mini-series.  This issues gives us an intelligently written main character, beautifully drawn locales and technology, and a mysterious storyline that spans different locales and time periods.  The Wake #1 sets the stage for what should be an interesting story by a team that has produced great work before.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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5 Responses to The Wake #1 (Vertigo)

  1. Great review! First time reader of your site. The reviews are insightfull, and well written. Looking forward to more.


  2. Auggie Martinez says:

    Agree with the review. One of my new favorite vertigo books. Too bad only a mini series.

  3. Toby says:

    Love this review. So accurate!!!!

  4. Giovanni says:

    Excellent review!!! Definitely a great first issue. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  5. Garrison Burk says:

    I wasn’t familiar with this title, but the review makes me want to dive in (pun intended) and get into this storyline. Great review!

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