Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s tale of underwater terror continues this month as The Wake hits it’s stride and becomes one of the most visceral comic books currently being published. This is the kind of series that creates new comic book readers.
** SPOILERS AHEAD **
The Wake is one of the best series currently on the stands. It’s like reading a movie; the best film-to-comic adaptation ever. The suspense, the character development, the utter terror felt page to page; all of it adds up to an astonishing level of verisimilitude. The characters feel like real people instead of archetypes inserted into a thriller at the bottom of the ocean. In many ways, The Wake is a much better thriller than most modern genre movies because the characters are actually important.
Snyder achieves an incredible level of suspense. I’ve never read a comic book that made me want to turn the page more. Each sequence blends so seamlessly into the next that I found myself reading quicker than normal just so I could see what happens next. It’s brilliant dramatic suspense and Snyder hits the mark every time.
As of now, The Wake is less about the mermaids and mythos of it all, and more focused on conveying the fear and horror of being trapped in a completely unexplainable and inescapable situation.
Snyder makes the terror palpable in this issue. Usually, if the antagonist is interchangeable, it weakens the story as a whole. Here, though, Snyder has created such an engrossing emotional palette that it could be demonic pink unicorns with dragon wings instead of vicious mermaids for all I care. If the level of emotional resonance were the same, the story would be just as strong.
The only real fault in The Wake #4 comes from the art. Over all, Sean Murphy’s work fits with the frantic and dark tone of the story, but there are moments when it looks rushed and sloppy. Specifically, the action sequences tend to look a bit muddied when there are more than three or four figures in the panel.
I will reiterate that The Wake is one of the best series out there right now, and each issue is better than the last. Not only would I recommend this series to comic book readers everywhere, but I would also encourage nonreaders to take a look and see how one of the best non-superhero comic books reads to them.