Saturday, October 29, 2011

Comics You Should Be Reading: Green Wake

There's no comic quite like Green Wake. Were I pressed to compare it to something, I'd name Silent Hill- both are set in mysterious, horrific towns that seem to draw you towards them. That understand the worst things about you, and the best ways to haunt you. Towns that, for most who come across them, there is no true escape.

The series primarily focuses on Morley Mack and Kreiger, whose unusual appearance has yet to be explained. Like many tales, this one opens with a murder. But as Mack and Kreiger begin their investigation, we soon learn that Green Wake is not an ordinary place. The town's strange nature is revealed to the reader gradually, at a pace that will make them more curious rather than leave them irritated. Some questions receive answers quickly, some are built into bigger mysteries, and some solutions are only teased at. And as readers start to learn more about Green Wake, they may become more and more reluctant to understand the truth at the center of it.

What I love about Green Wake is that in spite of all its strangeness, it's a true detective tale at its heart. When I read it, I feel like David Lynch decided it might be fun to try adapting a Dashiell Hammett classic. Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe, who also created the madcap, mad science gone wrong action series The Intrepids, does a beautiful job of setting the scene with his gripping prose. Every character in Green Wake, even the minor ones, has a clear voice and leaves the reader wanting to know more about them and what brought them to the town. The more I learn about Green Wake, the more fascinating its residents become, and now that the series is an ongoing, I hope we'll have the chance to hear plenty of their tales.

Green Wake was originally intended to be a miniseries, and had ended at issue 5, I would have been satisfied. The town still has many, many mysteries, but character arcs were sufficiently wrapped up, and readers were given enough information to develop their own theories about the town's nature. The series' new start keeps what was great about the original series while taking it in a new direction. In issues to come, it appears we'll be getting more of an ensemble cast, and I expect the introduction of new characters will only deepen the town's mythology. Issue 6 of the series gave us a few tantalizing pieces of information that I think will play a big role in the issues to come.

The art plays as big a role as the writing when it comes to establishing the town's atmosphere. Riley Rossmo's scratchy, dreary style is ideal for the town, and his beautiful shading and colors give readers a real sense of what living in Green Wake would be like. There's more detail in his work than you might notice at first glance. His backgrounds can be surprisingly intricate, and his facial expressions and body language are absolutely incredible. I mentioned before that Wiebe gives every character a unique voice, and I feel like his work shines its brightest near the end of the first storyline, and Rossmo layers on top of that, giving them little tics that make them feel like living, breathing people. I'm excited by the way certain changes to the town since then have changed his style, and I hope future issues give him more chances to experiment.

Now is the perfect time to start reading Green Wake. One storyline has just concluded and another has just begun, so readers can get some gratification before diving into a new sea of mysteries. Green Wake isn't a series for everyone- it's dark, violent, often grotesquely so, and town's unfathomable nature is sure to frustrate some readers. But for anyone who appreciates an unusual, eerie tale, who loves to try and figure things out or just be lost in a mystery, Green Wake can't be beat. Both its art and its storytelling are masterful, and its characters are wonderfully constructed. Green Wake is truly different from every other comic on the market right now, and that's what makes it a must read.

If you're interested in catching up with Green Wake, you can read the first issue for free here. You can also grab the Green Wake Volume 1 TP off Amazon or from your local comic shop.

By Marceline with No comments


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