Saturday, August 11, 2007

Awakening #1 (of 10)

Nick Tapalansky & Alex Eckman-Lawn

The new mini-series Awakening, from Archaia Studios Press, was my pick a few weeks back for the best bet of all releases to put your money on. And now that I've finally gotten my hands on a copy, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I haven't steered anybody wrong. I put my faith in the publishing company a little blindly, but my luck held out. At Wizard World Chicago of all places, I tracked this issue down in artist alley and got it autographed to boot. Awakening follows the sleepy town of Park Falls as a series of disappearances and grisly murders grip the community. The police are horrified by the viciousness of the acts, and no one believes the crazy conspiracy-theorist until they absolutely have to when the slow build of events lead to the conclusion that she provided: that there are indeed zombies walking amongst them. This comic is a dark thriller that reminded me quite a bit of Warren Ellis' Fell, and frankly, I think that this holds up pretty nicely next to the critically-acclaimed title. The art might not be quite as slick as Templesmith's, but Eckhart-Lawn's atmosphere and well, what sometimes look like drawings over photographry, provide all the atmosphere needed to make this a creepy little number that surpasses most of the zombie and monster crap out there in comics currently. Most. But not that other little-known zombie book by Robert Kirkman. With this debut issue, the creators effectively stage a book for scares aplenty, but unfortunately have left little for us to care about in terms of characters. I'm not even sure the protagonist's connection with the police department at this point, although I'm pretty sure there is one. And characterization: pretty much nill. But this is only the first of ten long issues, so there's still plenty of room for that stuff down the road hopefully now that the atmosphere and tone have appropriately been identified. Definitely worth a look. B+

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