“GREEN WAKE” #5 (Comic Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on August 14, 2011

With so many bizarre plot twists, GREEN WAKE #5 (Image Comics) keeps its readers guessing right until the last page. In a town where keeping secrets is the norm, a grief-stricken detective is on a frantic search for a brutal killer. But, will the detective try to save the killer from a bloodthirsty monster? Forced to stop two murderers at the same time, all clues lead to a shocking revelation. This puzzling mystery is fantastically compelling, with superb storytelling and feverish artwork.

In an unsettling sequence, a sewer monster touches a young man’s face, infecting him with a deadly poison. Suddenly, the young man’s cheek is covered with blinking eyes. As the infection spreads, the eyeballs pop themselves, like pimples, squirting blood into the air. Will Detective Morley Mack be able to save the citizens of Green Wake from this unstoppable creature?

Unrelenting in his pursuit, Morley must apprehend a seductive killer, Ariel, in the middle of her murder spree. The first victim was missing half of his face and had his lips ripped off. In the next murder, Ariel slashed the fingers off her second target vertically and pulled the bones from the flesh. While staring at the torn throat of her latest prey, Morley finally understands what the connection is between Ariel and her victims.

There is no such thing as an ordinary murder in Green Wake. With multiple killers on the loose, Morley wonders what good he can do amidst all this chaos. And because she’s obsessed with her own kills, Ariel doesn’t realize the sewer monster is hunting her. Morley must choose between saving Ariel or letting her become the monster’s next fatality.

Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe divides the narrative between two stories: a murder mystery and a coming-of-age tale. In a town where everyone hides from the truth, who exactly is innocent here? The second half of the narrative focuses on what happens after the crime is solved. Rare in police procedurals, readers get a chance to see what occurs the next day. Life doesn’t get normal for Morley, who still has to face his own darkest fears.

Additionally, artist Riley Rossmo captures a vibrant fever dream with his vivid illustrations. The battle between Ariel and the bloodthirsty monster is provocative and disturbing at the same time, and the creative use of prime colors serves as interesting metaphors for time displacement. While displaying surrealistic imagery, Rossmo creates the atmosphere of Morley’s drama. In a tale of redemption, Morley is searching for answers, wondering what his purpose is in life.

GREEN WAKE’s surrealistic artwork and creative storytelling deserve major attention. Comic book fans will be very pleased with the conclusion of this first story arc. A great comic allows readers to think and have something to talk about. Truly original and thought provoking, the GREEN WAKE series delivers on its potential. You’ll definitely want to read how this great horror mystery ends!