The Wake #6
Fully Whole, Or Full of Holes.
The Wake is back! Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy and their creative team are back from the brief reprieve they had from this title, allowing us a moment or two to let the end of the world sink in…Last time we read this book, the underwater science team of misfits had disturbed and ignited the rage of an ancient race of humanoid water creatures, hell bent on taking back what was theirs. I suppose they were tired of living in filth created by land-walking folk. Anybody ever seen that episode of The Simpsons where the dolphins escape the oceans and take back the land? That’s kind of what I was expecting to see here in The Wake’s return, but both fortunately and unfortunately, I was dead wrong.
The best thing about apocalyptic scenarios in fiction is that we get to see a lot of unique world building. I’ve always loved Snyder as a writer and its so interesting to see him craft a two part story like this. Part one told the story of the spark that ended the world as we know it (and scared the living hell out of us) and part two is going to be all about the aftermath, as in, what happened to the people, the government, the animals, the economy, law enforcement, the drug trade? We get introductory glimpses into all these themes in this issue.
Scott Snyder has always had the ability to go in medias res with his writing, he includes his exposition in the dialogue rather than wasting time on overused methods of introduction. His ability to introduce characters, complex themes and future conflict usually with one or two lines allows him to tell an enthralling, fast paced and efficient story. The narrative jumps back and forth between a few groups of characters, allowing us to see the contrast of how society has developed and evolved in order to properly cope with the downfall of humanity. The differences in lifestyles, the resentment the upper and lower class hold for each other and the inherent conflict about to take place between the two really pave a great foundation to what we will be reading in the next few months, and it only took around 22 pages. The story is concise, a product of the relationship between the storyteller and the artistic team. The way Snyder and Murphy work together, they both really play off each other’s strengths. They’re world building; they have to incorporate a small piece of story into what could easily be a book filled with amazing splash pages of post apocalyptic images of a new society. And in order to do this well, Murphy draws these amazing, large scale pages (colored by Matt Holingsworth), showcasing the environment of our new world, while Snyder does what he does best by telling a unique and chilling story, matching the spectacular tone set by the art.
A few specifics that stood out to me. Even though it may be cheap, I always love an included map. You may say that geography can be disclosed through dialogue well enough, but I think that an explicit map is a great way to lay a foundation, especially when we are working with a map we are already familiar with. In this issue, we see our heroine pull out an airline map of the United States from Skinner Airlines. A quick easter egg, the slogan of Skinner Airlines is “Sweet deals on flights.” Fans of Snyder’s American Vampire will get this one immediately. We see her holding the old map with pre-apocalypse flight paths, then on the next page we see her overlay a clear sheet with red marks, notating the significant changes in geography. Most notably, all of Florida is underwater, California is nearly totally submerged and there is some sort of wall that traces the border of Mexico and Texas and goes all the way along the new coast of northern California. We can only assume that this wall was to keep our undersea friends at bay. There is also an “Old Broken Wall” down near the midsection of Florida, I suppose a failed line a defense from the past. Crane City is the new capital (which we get to see in all it’s diminished glory) and a group of “Tree People” live in the mid-west in a territory called the “Forest of Wolves.” I hope we get to see more of these landmarks in later issues of The Wake because they’ve definitely set their hook into me.
The map, the themes of control, the “New America,” the fall of technology, new society niches, apocalyptic drug use, human-dolphin team-ups; if any of these themes appeal to you, pull this issue and start reading. If you are a fan of the creative team, this story is not to be missed. If you like Hickman’s East of West, the new storyline is starting to develop very similar themes. There are so many reasons to read this one, so even if you missed out on the first five issues, you still have no excuse not to buy/download and read this issue.