Scott Snyder is a rock star. Well, not in the literal sense, but in his field, definitely. He just writes great stuff and The Wake is no different. This is a series that just won the Eisner award for best limited series, and absolutely deserved it. Scott Snyder and collaborator Sean Murphy knocked this one out of the park. This is going to get a little spoiler-y, mostly for the first 5 issues.
The series is described on it’s official Vertigo page:
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 oil rig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery. But when things go horribly wrong, this scientific safe haven will turn into a house of horrors at the bottom of the ocean!
And that’s only the first five issues. A humanoid species of sea dwelling creatures referred to as Mers attack the rig forcing a small group into a specialized submarine. The Mers then put a plan into motion where they melt the ice masses in the oceans and flood a great portion of the planet. That’s the end of part one.
Part two focuses on a young woman named Leeward two hundred years into the future. Leeward is desperately seeking some hope for an end to her current meager way of life. After getting her hands on a device that will allow her to listen to underwater radio signals she hears Lee Archer’s final transmission claiming to know how to save the planet. Soon she is sought after by a military group called “Arm” for having the illegal device and is then on the run to save herself and find the source of the signal.
This story is great. We have a likable hero on a noble quest, a villain you love to hate in the Governess that controls Arm, her very capable and relentless subordinate in General Marlow, and a true thinker of an ending. To be honest I’m not entirely sure I understood the ending 100%. I’ll probably have to read it again to fully get what happens.
This is a great sci-fi/fantasy tale and is effective horror in the sense that floods of this magnitude could be possible if the icebergs do melt. This isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. It shouldn’t happen in our lifetimes, but you never know. Let’s really hope there aren’t creatures dormant in the ocean just waiting to strike. We know more about space than we do about our oceans and that’s truly terrifying when you think about it.
The Wake is available now in single issue format. All ten issues will be available in trade form on Guy Fawke’s Day (November 5th) according to the Vertigo website. Check it out, it’s absolutely worth it.