I'm a busy guy so I don't have the time to read as many comic books as I would prefer, but I know what I like. And from a creator standpoint, there's no writer in the business I enjoy more currently than Scott Snyder
So, when I heard that Snyder had a new miniseries in the works called The Wake
, and knowing about that aforementioned busy schedule, I decided to wait and read the whole collection when it became available.
I'm so glad I did.
The collected edition of The Wake
, which won an Eisner Award at Comic-Con this year, isn't just the best comic I've read this year. It's the best thing I've read all year, period. It's not just recommended reading for any comic fan, or anyone who just likes a good story. It stands as testament to what the medium of comic books allows from a creative standpoint, expanding the sandbox of techniques and tactics to weave a multisensory tale.
Snyder combined with artist Sean Murphy
for a collaboration I saw described elsewhere as rule-breaking, and that certainly applies. Many of the conventions of story-telling, and story-telling in comics in particular, are thrown out the window.
What begins as an apparent homage to cinematic endeavors like Alien
, The Thing
and The Abyss
takes a decidedly creepy turn... and then the entire narrative takes a sharp left turn into a dystopian version of the future. The shift cuts the entire structure of the collection in two, but by the time you begin the 10th and final installment, everything has been brought back together into the same tale.
I've not read as much total Snyder as I'd like (and by that, I mean, not everything yet), but the way he balanced so many complex elements -- telling a story that's one part deep-sea monster movie, and one part dystopian pirate yarn, and then linking them up for one shocking conclusion -- might be his finest effort yet. And the art of Murphy shouldn't be overlooked. His talents are on full display, most notably during some of the depictions of the vessels and surroundings in the latter half of the collection where things are rendered in refined and exquisite detail.
I'm not usually this gushing with praise on these reviews, so that should tell you something.
Go find a copy of The Wake
, and ignore the impulse to check out spoilers.
You won't be disappointed.