Grab a book off the stands. Open it. Does it feature a prehistoric shark being baited and set upon by a tribe of aqua-people? No? Then put it down and pick up The Wake. Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s underwater yarn offers more chills and thrills in issue #2, as Dr. Archer and her team come face to face with what lurks below. Each member of the squad was picked with specific deliberation, but after the events of this issue they may want to get those resumés back out there.
Snyder again does a great job individualizing his characters; though banded together by purpose (and money) they are all decidedly different in motive and background. And even when it’s obvious they’ve been duped, that the purpose of their expedition is not at all what they’ve been lead to believe, there’s one last link that keeps them together–scientific curiosity. So what is it that has them so fascinated? I won’t spoil that here, but suffice to say there’s something dangerous down in the deep and they haven’t even begun to realize what it can do. There’s a genuine sense of foreboding in the issue, as the team seems vulnerable in both a physical and psychological capacity, especially when said beastie gets loose.
Adding to the level of unease is another top notch effort by Murphy as he once again impresses with his deft design. His character work is great, particularly when the team first lays eyes on their assignment. From the wide eyed wonder of Dr. Archer to the predatory grin of Meeks, Murphy instills each subject with nuance and personality. His layouts and set design are equally impressive, his research base notably cold and claustrophobic. Colorist Matt Hollingsworth deserves special mention as well, as his striking color pallet intensifies the mood of the book. His subdued hues and vibrant tints enhance Murphy’s work in the best way possible and the two combine for some truly terrific art.
As it stands, The Wake is one thoroughly interesting read. Though at times I feel the book may read better as a collected edition, Snyder and Murphy have definitely shown they know how to craft suspense and keep their readers guessing. The literal and proverbial door has been opened in this issue, and I for one can’t wait to see where this goes next.