Comic Vine Review

11 Comments

The Wake #4 - Part Four Review

4

Trapped at the ocean’s depths, surrounded by horrors from the deepest darkness, is escape even a possibility?

The Good

After one of the strangest, most perplexing opening scenes I’ve ever read in comics, Scott Snyder’s underwater horror story leaps into high gear with the crew of scientists trying to evade the horrors that they’ve uncovered near the ocean floor. There’s a great balance in this book between tension and horror and the sheer intensity of the terror when the creatures appear. Like a well-made fast zombie movie, the monsters’ appearance changes the tone dramatically, but it never loses the fear, it merely shifts it. The book vacillates perfectly between savage intensity and slow, creeping horror alongside the best HP Lovecraft stories (complete with unknown horrors rising out of the ocean).

Sean Murphy’s art is messy, but in a completely intentional and contained way that helps to obfuscate some of what’s going on without hiding the absolute, gut-wrenching horror. Scary comic books are hard because of the balance that must be struck between showing too much and too little. Since the medium is stationary, you can’t rely on fast motion or music cues to generate jumps or tension, so it’s much more on the artist’s shoulders to carry the burden, which Murphy does, making all the character distinct and the monsters truly a terrifying sight to behold.

The Bad

I’ve enjoyed this book since the start, but I often have trouble keeping the characters straight. A lot of them either wear SCUBA gear or other devices that hide a great deal of their faces, and their names are just normal people’s names, so they’re not terribly distinct (though the solution, obviously, would not be to have a group of people with bizarre names). This can make it difficult to become invested in the characters as well as making it difficult to keep track of them in the month between issues.

We’re also now nearly to the halfway point and the strange imagery that takes place in the future hasn’t become any clearer, but now we’ve got even more strangeness happening in the past. I’m not saying everything needs to be crystal clear by this point, I’m just hoping we get a good payoff for it.

The Verdict

We’re only four issues in, so having unanswered questions isn’t unacceptable at this point and what the book gets right it gets very, very, VERY right. Through all the confusion we’ve got an amazing plot with absolutely fantastic creatures alongside an intriguing set of mysteries. The art is perfectly complementary and creates an atmosphere at once oppressive, claustrophobic, and absolutely terrifying.

11 Comments
Posted by bunkerbuster05

Lovecraft is my favorite type of horror. I am writing my own Lovecraft inspired story, but it could never compete with this!

Anything Snyder or Murphy touch is golden. Batman and Punk Rock Jesus are both incredible!

Posted by Kewirje

Should I pick this up? Is it good?

Edited by Wilbertus

Scotty Snyder and Sean Murphy. What a dream-team, I will be checking out this series for sure.

Edited by longbowhunter

I've been a big Lovercraft fan since I was a kid. This is the kind of stuff I eat up with a spoon. Surprised to see Meeks still alive. Even more surprised by the fact he's becoming my favorite character. He falls somewhere between Kraven and Burt from Tremors. Really great character.

Posted by bunkerbuster05

@kewirje said:

Should I pick this up? Is it good?

... Did you just ask on the REVIEW OF THE FREAKING COMIC?

Some people, holy cow.

Posted by Kewirje
Posted by Dabee

I really like where this title is going.

@kewirje said:

Should I pick this up? Is it good?

... Did you just ask on the REVIEW OF THE FREAKING COMIC?

Some people, holy cow.

I know, some people, am I right Kewirje? Some people. (Irony...)

Posted by SavageDragon

I love this book. Like Corey says Sean Murphy's hectic, sketchy art is so awesome and so full of life. His full panels of Lee staring out the window are just gorgeous. Huge fan of his art (Punk Rock Jesus is the Sh**).

This book is such a high concept piece. We have Ancient Civilizations, a future flooded earth, Moons exploding, killer mermaids, horror, action, suspense and that last page....5/5 for me.

Posted by manwithoutshame

So far I've enjoyed this series. I'm getting lost reading it a bit though, might have to read the old issues again.

Posted by nappystr8

The art in this series is so beautiful.

Posted by 1nceagain

Snyder is so good on horror or even stories with bits of horror. He just gets it. So many films I see this series touching on like Alien, The Thing, and with this recent issue it almost has the feel of the "of the dead" movies.

No doubt it's best to go back and re read the previous issue. This seems like it works best in trade but I can't help picking up each issue to see what happens next. Loving this.