The dream team of writer Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire) and artist Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus) debuted the first issue of their hotly-anticipated 10-part miniseries The Wake this past Wednesday with a very promising first issue. Part one of The Wake feels like a John Carpenter idea presented on a James Cameron scale.
Warning, issue 1 spoilers ahead…
The Wake #1 (Vertigo)
w. Scott Snyder; a. Sean Murphy; c. Matt Hollingsworth; l. Jared K. Fletcher
The Wake‘s opening tale introduces us to our lead, Dr. Lee Archer, an expert in cetological vocalizations (i.e. whale songs) who’s recruited by the Department of Homeland Security into a secret and quite literal underwater think tank. The issue provides the ingredients for a spooky-as-hell horror story – an isolated setting, a beastie you only barely get a look at, an ensemble cast that’s sure to be at least halved by the end of the series, and of course, lots of questions.
The issue is separated into short chapters. The first takes place 200 years in the future, in an abandoned, flooded-over cityscape. A blue-haired woman and her dolphin assistant Dash, who appears to be lightly armored and wearing a bandolier. (I’ve been referring to him in my head as a Utility Dolphin.) Who is this lady? What happened to the city? Where are all the people? Answers are surely to come.
We then cut to what appears to be present day. (Side-note: I initially thought we might be in the near future because Dr. Archer is chatting with her son on a wrist video communicator, but here‘s an iPhone wrist strap for like $15.) In just over 2 pages we get a look at Lee Archer’s status quo. She works with whales, she travels, she enjoys her work, but she’s separated from her family. She also bears some resemblance to the woman we saw in the future. A descendent of hers? Or could it be her?
Enter DHS agent Astor Cruz, who promises her the means to win custody of her son in exchange for identifying a mysterious underwater sound with unique ties to a traumatic event in her past. She’s soon whisked away on a submarine to a secret underwater base, which is a recipe for fun if I ever heard it. More stories should include secret underwater bases. Turns out Dr. Archer isn’t the only expert being brought in – there are at least three others, but they’ve each been brought there under false pretenses.
And they’ve got a sea monster in a tank.
The final page of the issue flashes back to 100,000 years ago, promising us an X-Files level of mythological backstory.
The Wake #1 (Vertigo) comes with a big ol’ (and first ever) Deadshirt stamp of approval. It’s available in comic shops and on ComiXology. I got my copy at my LCS, The Fallout Shelter in Highland Park, NJ.
Also out this week:
X-Men #1 (Marvel)
w. Brian Wood; p. Oliver Coipel; i. Mark Morales, Oliver Coipel; c. Laura Martin; l. Joe Caramagna
The latest addition to the Marvel Now! X-Men line assembles an all-female cast of A-list mutants and, refreshingly, doesn’t make a big deal out of it. The casting doesn’t play like a stunt or a gimmick. These are popular, established characters doing what they do best – saving lives, kicking ass, and being great friends, and there’s no necessity felt here to justify an all-female team any more than there would be to justify an all-male one. While it’s steeped in X-Men lore and as such doesn’t make a fantastic jumping-on point, longtime fans will be pleased to see Jubilee back in the spotlight, and references to Grant Morrison’s popular New X-Men run. I’m not exceptionally well versed in past X-Men stories and I was able to follow it pretty easily. Fun read, fantastic art as always from Coipel. Could maybe use more Kitty Pryde. (All books could use more Kitty Pryde.)
Star Trek – After Darkness #21 (IDW)
w. Mike Johnson; a. Erfan Fajar; c. Stellar Labs; l. Chris Mowry
IDW’s ongoing Star Trek title gets rebranded now that the latest Trek feature film has come and gone. This series has had difficulty gaining much momentum, mostly due to leaning heavily on existing mythology and treading water until Into Darkness could make significant changes to the status quo, but now that the movie has shaken things up and sent our heroes off on their five year mission, it looks like things are finally going to get moving. In addition to touching on the events of the new film, this issue also makes an effort to tie together previous comic storylines, including the recent Countdown the Darkness miniseries, and the recent tie-in Star Trek video game. For the first time, it really feels like there’s a cohesive expanded universe building here.
Chew #34 (Image)
w. John Layman; a. Rob Guillory
It feels like forever since we had a new chapter in Chew, but as always, it doesn’t disappoint. This issue provides some long-awaited backstory for big bad The Vampire, plus several new additions to the series’ library of ridiculous food-based superpowers. Tony’s on the warpath after his recent family tragedy, and while he still suffers from Designated Protagonist Syndrome, the supporting cast is more than able to pick up the slack and keep this book one of the most fun and imaginative titles out there.