“GREEN WAKE” #1 (Comic Review)

Posted by & filed under .

Originally published at Fangoria.com on April 2, 2011

GREEN WAKE #1 (Image Comics) is an engaging murder mystery with tons of crazy twists and turns. A paranoid detective is on the search for a brutal killer. Plagued by painful memories, the detective seems unable to find a way out of his town, as if he’s trapped inside. Surrounded by oddities and amnesiacs, he doesn’t even know what the truth is anymore. This is a puzzling mystery that will surely intrigue its readers right from the start.

Morley Mack is stuck in time, wondering if he could have changed his fate. Mack questions whether he could have deliberately avoided crashing his car into the tree. Soaked in blood, he stumbles away from the crash site and hits the ground. Suddenly, his chest is engulfed by a swarm of hungry frogs. His entire body disappears as if the flesheating frogs had swallowed him whole.

Time has passed and now Morley arrives at the crime scene, somehow with a badge and gun. As a detective, he scans the corpse hoping to find clues. The murder victim is missing half his face because his lips were torn off. In the victim’s hand is a bloodstained locket that belongs to a mysterious woman named Ariel. In a gated community that doesn’t have a history of violent killings, Morley realizes this is no ordinary murder that has struck Green Wake.

Green Wake is a town where citizens are known for harboring dark secrets. Residents shut themselves away from rest of the outside world. Ariel used to be a quiet, soft-spoken girl until she became obsessed with the hunt for Babylon. Ariel is in desperate search of a way out and doesn’t know if Babylon actually exists.

But, what is this town that makes everyone else afraid to leave and forces them to stay? Green Wake is a strange place full of people who don’t know how they got there. Could Morley possibly be dead or are all these characters part of his twisted imagination? The first issue sets up a list of interesting questions that will compel readers to follow for the rest of the five-issue miniseries.

Author Kurtis J. Wiebe (of THE INTREPIDS) creates the town itself into a living and breathing character. Green Wake is composed of never-ending streets that ultimately lead to nowhere. Morley’s self-narration reflects the story’s major themes of pain and guilt. The protagonist represents someone who is unable to move on past a life-changing moment.

PROOF’s Riley Rossmo vividly captures a waking dream in his stylized artwork. The opening pages are just a masterwork of pictures with no dialogue. The colors are interesting metaphors for the creepy setting. Readers should know brown represents the past, purple stands for unreality and green symbolizes the present.

GREEN WAKE #1 keeps its readers guessing with its engrossing horror mystery. Comic book fans are introduced to a weird and sinister setting that is unbelievably imaginative. The story and art are well executed enough to grab followers for the second issue. Debuting next week, you don’t want to be left out of the mystery. Check out the comic’s official blog here.