Comic Books

THE WAKE #1

“THERE’S SOMETHING DOWN THERE…”

When Marine Biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she declines, but quickly realizes they won’t take no for an answer. Soon she is plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oilrig where they’ve discovered something miraculous and terrifying…

Writer Scott Snyder (BATMAN, AMERICAN VAMPIRE) and artist Sean Murphy (PUNK ROCK JESUS) bring their acclaimed talents to this sci-fi/horror epic that explores the horrors of the deep, probes the origins of human history, and leaps far beyond to a frightening future.

Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Sean Murphy
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth
Cover by Sean Murphy & Andy Kubert

Price: $2.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 50.0%

Reviews

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DavidClark06/02/13NoRead Review
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1045
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Avg Rating: 4.5
 
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Comments

  1. Pow^

  2. My pow as well.

  3. Wow this book must be so good it doesn’t require actually reading it!

    • HA!

    • When it’s Snyder/Murphy you just should know.

    • @gorillamonsoon Dude Snyder is great but he isn’t that great. He’s only been around for a few years. Let’s not turn him into Grant Morrison or Brian K Vaughn over night.

    • Phess1 look at my comments on Snyders batman run,I’m not trying to put him on this high pedestal but his American Vampire is top notch,severed another great one. I just have faith this will be no different. & for the record he don’t even crack my top 5 writers. Brosif!

    • See ok this is my problem I guess. Snyder is a young writer. He’s done Black Mirror (great) Gates of Gotham (not so great) American Vampire (some great, some not so great) Severed (great) Swamp Thing (some great, some not so great) Batman (some great, some not so great) and some miscellaneous marvel stuff that nobody cares about. So he has certainly been plenty good but because he was the best young writer coming out of the new 52 there is a skewed perception of his overall quality of work and because of that he’s not getting the same opportunity to grow as a writer as some of his peers have by getting the time work out his voice on lower profile titles. Watch now when everybody gets a chance to read this issue and people start saying “not as good as American Vampire” “Boring” ect because expectations are way too high. I’m hoping this is awesome but when people start placing these kind of expectations on work that nobody has even seen yet there’s no way that it can match up to that. Even worst now it becomes a debate between the people won’t give this a chance because it didn’t meet out sized expectations and reader who love the creators too much to see the flaws and were left with little to no meaningful critical analysis.

    • I feel alone in thinking Brian K Vaughn isn’t that great.

    • ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      Right there with you, deepspacesamurai. I usually enjoy Vaughn’s work but I’m not blown away by it.

    • My comics Mount Rushmore Has Vaughn in between Morrison and Miller

  4. Beyond excited for this, the horror landscape has been sadly bare these past few months.

  5. I’m really looking forward to this. I just hope that the fact it was pushed back 3 weeks isn’t a trend for the future. Oh, and it’s $2.99 which is a surprise.

  6. Man I probably lived in a cave without knowing cause I was sure this wasn’t coming out until later this year! Instant pulled!

  7. Is this Vertigo or DCU?

  8. I love Snyder on Batman and Murphy is awesome, ill maybe give this a go but I’m really not a massive fan of Horror comics.

  9. I knew this was gonna be number one on pulls here, for sure. I like Snyder on Batman but never got into American Vampire. Sean Murphy does nothing for me – I know, blasphemy! So this is a big maybe for me.

  10. I was going to tradewait this, but if SPACEMAN and AMVAMP is of any indication, it’ll take a bazillion years before the hardcover, and another trillion years before the softcover. So issues it it.

    • Normally, I might wait as well, but with all the concern about Vertigo’s future, I want to make sure they see my (3 dollars of) support . . .

    • How many months and months have to go by and how many new series need to come out before people stop talking about the uncertain future of Vertigo…?

    • Until they can get another ongoing other than Fables, AV, and The Unwritten that can last.

    • How about Fairest? It’s at fifteen issues and still going strong.

      Also Astro City starts in June and Collider starts in July, both of which are ongoings.

      And of course the myriad upcoming mini-series’ including Brother Lono, The Wake, and Trillium.

      And this is not even to mention the current ongoing adaptations of the Steig Larson books and Django Unchained.

      Vertigo has always been a smaller publisher, they’ve never been up to the scale of Image or Dark Horse. I read a lot of Vertigo books. They are the main reason I got back into comics a number of years ago. And by all accounts I see they look pretty healthy. So I ask again…what uncertain future?

    • I agree that the death reports for Vertigo are probably exaggerated, it’s just, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from DC this past year or so, it’s if you love a title buy it in issues, because I don’t think that they’re looking at trade sales to determine if series continue.

    • Just to jump in here,” Vertigo is dying” seems to be a montra or something. I had this argument before with someone and they kept insisting it’s days are numbered. Maybe people just need One More Reason to Hate DC or something.

      I agree with @Cosmo, if you want a series to continue the best way is probably to buy in issues. Although, I think the pleathura of New 52 titles using “Decompression” storytelling has something to do with all the people who trade-wait. Yet I see tons and tons of Marvel trades on the shelves in bookstores, but the funny thing I noticed at the last one was that 97% of the stuff in the bargain bin as Marvel.

      Sorry for the tangent, I’m looking forward to this. I may just hop into my LCS even tho I was just there Saturday.

    • Yeah, Karen Berger is leaving. She announced it back in December but stayed on until March, yet I could swear people have been saying “Vertigo is dying” way before that so to me this just sounds like coincidence mixed with self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s like saying “Bruce Timm is leaving DC animated, that studio is dying”. It doesn’t hold up, unless you’ve got something else to go on.

    • Vertigo needs to start investing in new talent, not just the guys who have spent a few years already with DC but fresh,hungry creators itching to prove themselves.

    • As of even last year Vertigo was developing new long form and mini series from talent outside the company such as Saucer Country, The New Deadwardians, Dominic Lavuea Voodoo Child in addition to long running series such as Hell Blazer, The Unwritten, American Vampire and Scalped. As of today they are publishing Fables, Fables spin offs, The Unwritten, Movie Adaptations (!?) and creator owned properties from DC creators that would otherwise be taken elsewhere. There are no new long form series and there a no new writers or writers outside of ones with DC contracts publishing on Vertigo. It is essentially a publisher for Fables, creator owned properties of there own writers and movie adaptations. No new writers, No new long form series. That is, in my opinion, a once vibrant (and my personal favorite) publisher that is declining.

    • Also forgot to mention Collider that is coming out so there is that but overall a very poor catalog of titles compared to years past. I understand it’s a business decision and Image/Dark Horse are more or less picking up the slack but still sucks.

    • I’m doubtful that DC wants to give new creators time with new Vertigo series when they’ve already got new people working in the New 52 (Charles Soule, Robert Venditti, one of the other guys working on one of the other GL books). I’m not sure how lucrative Vertigo is either, but I’ve been hearing how cash strapped DC is for the last couple of months.

      The New Deadwardians was written by Dan Abnet who has a history with both Marvel and DC, and before TND worked on “Resurrection Man” in the New 52. “Saucer County” (canceled BTW, I understand a typical Vertigo series sells 15,000 and considered well received but unless there was another reason for it Im assuming it was due to really low selling series) was written by Paul Cornell who wrote Action Comics.So neither of those guys counts as outside company talent to me.

      What you are overlooking is that American Vampire is on hiatus, it’s coming back and there’s a one shot coming out soon (with stories by people not working at DC), there is a 100 Bullets related mini series forthcoming, a Sandman prequel coming out in November. Also there’s those anthology one shot DC likes to release every so often (Ghosts and Time Warp). I’m sure there’s others I’m unaware of that could be in the works.

      So while Vertigo’s not fine, it’s still around. I don’t know if I’d say it’s declining.

    • The way I would say it’s declining is the lack of original material from outside or up and coming talent. A lot of the stuff you mentioned was related to past Vertigo books. Nobody is getting new stuff published at Vertigo. Even guys who did some of there best original work with them like Morrison and Vaughn are going through other publishers for creator owned work. I think DiDio makes a reference to it in the NYT article saying in a round about way that they would rather focus on properties with the best sales potential and that’s not really Vertigo. It’s unfortunate but understandable. With that said I feel like Vertigo could be a lot more profitable selling the rights and tpb’s of there Vertigo material but what do I know. Still really digged Wake and I’m looking forward to Trillium. Maybe some of the younger wirters like Soule and Vendetti can do some cool original work for them as well. Don’t know if will see another book like Scalped (new writer, 60 issue series and non sci fi) which is my biggest fear.

    • Right I see what you’re saying, I just happen to disagree it’s declining. In a slump? Not what it could be? Nothing that really stands out to interest you? Any of those I’d be fine with. I’m not a huge Vertigo reader tho, I mean I love certain Vertigo series but I think alot of them are a commitment to buy as they’re coming out (longrunning, 60+ issues, the same creator). I’m trying it with “Saga” so I’ll see how it goes.

      I think there are alot of Vertigo series with movie potential, but studios are having trouble understanding it (Sandman) or it requires some unorthodox filmmaking (Y the Last Man, 99% female cast). Also I think studios are focused on Superheroes because that’s where the money is right now (they’re not wrong). Personnaly I’d like more comic book related media, not just more Capes and Masks but that’s just me.

      I’m confident that some of the new guys will graduate to Vertigo if they come up with a cool pitch and work with DC for a bit. I’m sure you’ll find another longrunning nonSci-Fi series at Vertigo soon enough. Maybe there’ll be a sequel to Deadwardians or something?

      Oh, just occurred to me about DC’s financial prospects. Marvel has alot of cartoon, movie, and merchandising money coming in I bet, DC is lacking in that with some exceptions. I remember an older comics fan telling me the Big 2 get most of their money from outside the comics (hence Marvel and DC Entertainment instead of just Marvel Comics or DC Comics). That might explain Vertigo’s current standing and that article with Dan Didio.

    • Yeah that’ why I think it’s going down because the focus on the line isn’t there or the same. Whenever people ask me why I read comics I always use DMZ as an example. That’s a phenomenal story that would lose something as a novel and would cost way too much money to give it the same type of depth that the comic had. Only a comic book could do that best and Vertigo was where I always looked for those stories. Like I said, Image and Dark Horse seem to be doing a lot of that type of work now so it’s not like I’m missing anything per se just wish there was still a market for it to be as viable as it was like 3-5 years ago when you had DMZ, Scaped, Y the Last Man, American Vampire, Joe the Barbarian, IZombie ect. I do think that Vertigo has a lot of untapped potential for scripted dramatic cable series ala Walking Dead. DC/Vertigo is owned by Warner Bro’s who also happens to own HBO, a network that can pretty put out whatever it wants without worrying about the FCC or ratings. That’s like perfect for something like Y the Lastman or Preacher. Idk if you watched the Wire but David Simon the show runner doing a TV version of Scalped is like someone going into my brain and creating exactly what I wanted.

    • *way too much money for a movie

    • Yes now i think about it, its hard to nail down what makes Vertigo stand out from other companies that publish horror/sci-fi month to month. The only thing i can think of is that Vertigo stuff is very cerebral. You dont just put $2.99 down and buy a story, you buy brain food. Stuff that makes you think. Not to downplay other stuff at other companies, but almost all Vertigo stuff Ive is unique in how i read it.

      I didn’t know WB owned HBO, I like knowing that because some of my favorite stuff has come from HBO (Bored to Death, Flight of the Conchords, Game of Thrones, Big Love, Boardwalk Empire, and Entourage). I don’t know if Y the Last Man and Preacher would be my first choices for tv series since I think those might be costly to make although I can see Y working on TWD’s budget. Without having read it or knowing slot about the series, I’d put “Scalped” on tv first to see how that fares since it doesn’t involve Aliens, demons, other dimensions and sounds like something people who watch “True Blood” would take too (I’m assuming, again I’ve never read it). For my money tho I’d love to see the Sandman finally adapted to something, and mostly because I think its been so challenging to adapt makes me want it all the more. Y of course could be a big hit and I’d put that second, with maybe the Unwritten as third (because I love it so so much). Sweet Tooth has potential I think, but I just don’t know how people would react to it on first impression (post apopcalpyse story with animal kids). You’ve got a point, Vertigo stuff on HBO could be a match made in heaven and DC could put them together exclusively and hopefully draw in new readers (I know a ton of people who started reading A Song of Fire and Ice after the 1st season of GOT). Let’s hope it someday happens.

    • I think the thing about Vertigo that always stood out for me was they were the first ones to really do thoughtful work with a major platform. Image started out pretty much doing edgy super hero stuff (save for the trippy maxx) and dark horse was more like alt sci fi. Vertigo always had a standard of quality that stood over everything and they didn’t go for the easy flip on super hero tropes or “ghostworld” rip offs. Everything was high quality and super original. Another quote from the times article from I think Morrison mentions how Vertigo was the first of it’s kind but now almost every publisher has taken elements of Vertigo for there own comics. Maybe time has just passed them by. Also Guillermo Del Torro doing a Pan Labryinth style Sweet Tooth adaption would be pretty much amazing. But yeah you could pretty much just jump around Vertigo’s titles and pick out dream sceanrios with film makers/show runners.

    • @phess1: Those are all good points about Vertigo and I do see where you’re coming from now. The lack of new/non-DC talent is disconcerting, I honestly hadn’t thought of it that way. I agree Karen Berger leaving is a big blow but other companies, Image for example, have survived and even thrived despite key people leaving. Vertigo has kind of morphed into a larger scale Icon, just used to keep the big creators happy with their own projects. However, while I agree this is a sign that Vertigo is taking a different direction, I don’t see it disappearing anytime soon. Just my opinion and is seems we disagree here but I think there is anecdotal evidence to support either side.

      I do however think this comment is a bit of revisionist history, “they didn’t go for the easy flip on super hero tropes or “ghostworld” rip offs. Everything was high quality and super original.” While I completely agree Vertigo stuff is always high quality, most of their early stuff were old DC superhero properties done in a different and edgier manner. Their first books included things like Shade, Doom Patrol, and Animal Man. While they were all well done, I think they would definitely fall under the category of flipping super hero tropes.

    • @uspunx: I’ll give you that last point in that most of the early stuff was all old DC superhero’s. With that said I think they did move past those ideas pretty quickly.

    • @phess1: Yeah they definitely did. My point was Vertigo has changed its approach in the past and survived just fine so I hope this is just another case of them evolving, not diminishing.

    • I hope your right to. I would base my idea of it’s decline on the fact that so much less is being published by them, some of the stuff that is getting published by them is not up to the standard of excellence they’ve had (mainly the movie adaptions although you could probably throw in the Unwritten/Fables crossover as well) other publishers that have filled the void of what Vertigo was best at publishing and economic realities that DC must face doing publishing these type of books in 2013. Doing Image numbers without Image’s publishing model doesn’t make sense for DC

  11. New Sean Murphy art? Yes please!

  12. After Punk Rock Jesus I’ll check out anything with Sean Murphy attached to it. Never read American Vampire but have obviously heard its great so I’m definitely looking forward to this. And 2.99…. Right on.

  13. Finally!

  14. I’m not usually a big horror fan, but am checking this out for Snyder. Plus, the underwater aspect is intriguing . . .

  15. For FCBD I bought PUNK ROCK JESUS and I really enjoyed it. The story was kinda iffy in some places but you could only have Murphy doing the art with no word balloons and I would still love it. Not saying Snyder isn’t gonna do bad here; I expect this to be a great, unnerving story. But having Murphy on art is really a blessing for Scott.

  16. Scott Snyder is either really lucky, or has a great taste for the artists he gets to create comics with. Both creators quality work makes this a simple purchase.

  17. is this an ongoing or mini?

  18. I’ve become more and more disenchanted with Scott Snyder one month after another, but I would buy a Jeph Loeb book if Sean Murphy was drawing it, so I’m giving this a shot.

  19. I agree insofar as his Batman work but American Vampire is one of my favorite books being published. I cannot wait to read this.

  20. Looks like The Massive.

  21. Wow they packed a lot into one issue! They definitely captured that classic horror tone. The comic feels eerie and claustrophobic as they dwell to the depths of the seafloor.

    The art was sharp and detailed, what you expect from Sean Murphy but I kind of had an issue with the colouring. I dunno if it was the fimiliarity of seeing Punk Rock Jesus in black and white but it kind of threw me a bit. I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.

    Good first issue!

  22. consafo80 consafo80 (@consafo80) says:

    Looking forward to this, will be nice to get on a Snyder creator owned book from the ground floor. The art looks really nice.

  23. ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

    Loved everything about this, from story to art to coloring. Can’t wait for next issue!

  24. Is it possible to get the bag and board signed instead of the actual comic book or the ink wont really work on the plastic from the bag and board? Hope I can get answer from here.

    • First, I think you are right, Sharpie ink won’t work so well on a polypropalene bag.

      Second, since any bag/board can be swapped with any book, I’m not sure why you’d want to do this?

  25. Very much enjoyed this, POTW for me! Full disclosure, this is the only new material I purchased this week (bought Adventures of Superman to share, Lemire’s story is WONDERFUL!). But, I did make the trip to my shop after work just to purchase the physical copy and I’m delighted I did.

    Great to see a new Vertigo #1 that’s actually and truly all-new. I love The Unwritten and have enjoyed Fables at times, and I am greatly anticipating American Vampire’s return, but it’s just nice to see Vertigo put out a new book that’s not based on previously published material. Snyder and Murphy, who I both love as individual creators, work wonderfully together. Glad the art is colored too, that was also done wonderfully. Cool, creepy set up and I want more! This should make Snyder proud to show his face here again 🙂

  26. Really liked this. Very excited to see where Snyder takes this story.

  27. Nice set up, love going deep into the ocean. And, I’m a sucker for well written female scientists. Next issue, please!

  28. Nice way to blow a reveal on the cover

  29. So this issue is gonna get Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth an Eisner right? Every time I turned the page I didn’t think they could outdo what they did before but they did! We get underwater cities, a humpback whale, an underwater oil refinery, and some pretty damn good character designs. The one page of the helicopter in Alaska showcases how integral Hollingsworth is on colors. The most realistic depiction of a sunset I’ve ever seen in a comic, I could gush about the art all damn night because this was one of the most beautiful looking comics to come out this year.

    But Scott Snyder is no slouch either. Some really great work by him to bring a lot of world building and characters in one issue. He’s never really gone for the whole sci-fi approach in a story so seeing a dystopic future and cavemen in anything by him is pretty unique. He handles all of that, and introducing a great female lead, without breaking a sweat. Can’t wait to see how he delivers the scares and tension from here on out because you know that’s coming.

    X-Men #1 showed how NOT to do a first issue. The Wake #1 proves how you SHOULD do a first issue and boy these everyone delivered on this.

    5/5 (POTW)

    • I agree 100% on the art team. This was a joy to look at. I enjoyed the Punk Rock Jesus nod with Lee’s Flak Jackets cap.

      But I’m not sure I’d hold this up as the new gold-standard for a debut issue. I get that Snyder has to lay a lot of pipe, but there were so moments where the exposition got pretty heavy. Not so clunky that it turned me off, but it wasn’t invisible.

    • @Ken: I’m not saying this was the greatest #1 issue of all time. But in regards to this year, so far, I’d say it’s pretty high for a debut issue.

    • @thenextchampion: I agree that this was a fantastic issue. I had no problem with the exposition at all and introducing three very different timeframes REALLY intrigued me. Other than maybe East of West I’d call this my favorite debut issues this year.

      @Ken: I noticed The Flak Jackets nod too. Do you think this is in the same world as Punk Rock Jesus or was it just a nod to perceptive fans?

    • @USPUNX: Just a nod, I’m sure. PRJ had some pretty specific settings as far as dates, while it’s looking like The Wake is sort of set in “the day after tomorrow” and 200 years beyond that.

    • @ken: Yeah that’s true. Some of the tech seemed a little more advanced, like when Lee was talking to her son while on the boat feeding the whale, so I wondered if “now” meant “near future now.” I’m sure it’s mainly just both being Murphy art but I pictured these happening in the same universe kind of like I picture DMZ and Channel Zero maybe happening in the same universe.

  30. Yesterday I posted what I thought this was going to be about because of a show I had just seen, and I think it got deleted. Anyways, CALLED IT! And I’m SUPER JUICED now. This is an excellent avenue for a comic.
    I

  31. Ancient mysteries + Sea Monsters = SOLD!

  32. I read this twice last night and absolutely loved it the second time. This is a dream team and the coloring was maybe my favorite ever. On a side note I happened to watch that Animal Planet Mermaid show last night also and there were some interesting parallels with the sounds and look of the creature they captured in The Wake (I can’t help myself watching stuff line that). It made me like the book even more. My only complaint is why would someone open the tank and get close enough for that creature to attack him? He is in a straight jacket after all.

  33. This was a fantastic first issue. Clearly establishes what this series will be like and the gist of the plot, the art was amazing (naturally), and Snyder is on his A-Game.
    Loved the Punk Rock Jesus easter egg, anyone else catch that? 🙂

  34. Anyone else have a hard time reading this? Just seemed like there were some storytelling issues. Very hard to follow what was happening with the “storytellers” chapter. Not just confusing because of the mystery, but confusing because of the “acting.”

    I’ll give it another issue, but this did not gel with me for some reason.

  35. Can I make two pics this week? This and Superman adventures were fantastic. I sat and thought for about 8 hours before making Superman my pick. That Jeff Lemire story is just too wonderful.

  36. This was okay but I was far from blown away. I have faith that it will get more interesting though.

  37. thought it was ok, didn’t think it was special especially with all the hype behind the creators. Snyder does great horror, but this really didn’t make me excited for the next issue. American Vampire was great. Batman – Court of Owls was great. Batman – Death of the Family had a great lead in but the ending was meeh, maybe we have Morrison to blame for that foul up, maybe not… but I wasn’t entirely impressed by this issue, maybe it was a setup for a greater story, only time will tell.

    • Exactly! Way too much hype. Just because it has Scott Snyder’s name on it doesn’t automatically mean it needs to be praised to high heaven. Calm down, fanboys, you’re embarrassing yourselves!

    • I think the fanboys here are more in a tizzy over Sean Murphy than Scott Snyder. But this book reminded me a lot of East of West – okay, but way overhyped here.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s not what hype means. Hype is a marketing term. This was genuine appreciation of the book. Leading up to it, we were excited because of the compelling premise and the great pedigree.

    • ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      A lot of people liking something you didn’t like automatically makes it overhyped?

    • @BCDX97 I’m with you . East of West was okay for me, so I didn’t stay on for issue #2. I found this to be enjoyable, if not slightly formulaic. For me, the highlight was the art, especially Hollingsworth’s coloring. It made all the difference.

      I wish more books had “non-standard” coloring, with all the damn gradients and light reflection highlights (think “Earth 2” or “Justice League).

      Murphy’s compositions were awesome. Especially, the panel where we quickly flashback to Archer reaching for drowning arms in a storm…and the cut to the crew member with his face bitten off.

  38. consafo80 consafo80 (@consafo80) says:

    It was good but not amazing. Maybe I’d just built it up in my head too much.

  39. Finally got to reading this last night. Strong first issue with an excellent use of chapters as time indicators. Wasn’t actually expecting the story to jump around and show different time periods which was a great surprise! As always, Snyder’s story-telling skills are strong and supported and once the issue was done I was a little pissed at the cliffhanger and wanted to read issue #2 immediately! 🙁

    As for Murphy’s art, it was my first ever taste of his pencils and it was a feast to my eyes! Love his style and layouts!

    Special mention to the colorist who made an awesome job of giving this its own “look”!

    Now I can’t wait to read the 9 issues left!

  40. Pulled, sight unseen, in the bag, based on a cursory glance through issue number two.

    Can’t wait to read both issues in one sitting.

  41. Not a bad first issue. Very good start to what seems like a very interesting story.

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