Scott Snyder’s “The Wake”

First off, light spoilers. Nothing too major happens in this issue, so I don’t blow the top off of any big secrets here. Still, thought I should warn you.

The cover does make it look like an '80s action movie, but trust me, the writing and art are great.

The cover does make it look like an ’80s action movie, but trust me, the writing and art are great.

I should have sat down before reading issue #1 of Scott Snyder’s The Wake and written at least a little something about my expectations, but that would have been a very short post. I kept from reading much about it before it released, something I’ve been trying out a bit more recently. It’s partly because I’m staying a little too busy to read a bunch of stuff online, and partly because I want to go into it with a fresh set of eyes and little to no expectations. I did it with Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness, and I’m doing my best to do it with Man of Steel. It’s about time to apply it to comics, especially brand-new runs like this.

That being said, before I read it, I figured The Wake would have a slight feel of The Thing, NOT the Marvel Comics book, but the fantastic 1982 John Carpenter film of which I am a tremendous fan. I figured there’d be some main character slapped in a remote lab with a team of scientists they don’t know and a strange creature they have discovered. Soon, things go wrong, people die, Snake Plissken roasts a tentacle zombie dog with a flamethrower, and everyone is left a little scarred and unsettled by the entire thing.

Well, maybe not that specific, but you get the idea.

Today, after I purchased the first issue of what I assumed would be the newest great thing from Snyder, I raced home, threw open the door, and started reading before air condition registered the sudden burst of hot air that came in with me.

On the surface, it’s safe to say my expectations were pretty close to correct. No Snake Plissken (which is a tremendous bummer), but there are quite a few similarities. Dr. Lee Archer is recruited (using various lies) by Homeland Security to join a research mission in Alaska. When they arrive, Archer is introduced to the team of specialists that will be working with her on an illegal and secret underseas oilrig. At the end of the issue, we see a fierce creature in various restraints and inside what looks to be a tank of water.

I hesitate to call this thing "The Thing," but if the shoe fits.

I hesitate to call this thing “The Thing,” but if the shoe fits…

I hate to boil it down to one paragraph, but that’s all of the important stuff right now. There’s a small part in the beginning that takes place 200 years in the future and involves a woman with a glider and animatronic dolphin outrunning a tidal wave tearing through a city, and the very end is a weird bit about a caveman drawing a large mural on a cave wall before blinding himself. I’m not exactly sure where these will fit into the story, but if my love of Stanley Kubrick films has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t rush it.

Future tidal wave. Not sure where this plays into the story, but we'll find out sooner or later.

Future tidal wave. Not sure where this plays into the story, but we’ll find out sooner or later.

All in all, it’s a solid first issue, but one that suffers the same pratfalls as most other first issues of comics: you can either cut action for character development for the story to make sense (which can feel a bit on the boring side), or you can cut character development for action (which can make it feel rushed). I’m not concerned, though. It was a good issue, and I’m excited to see how Snyder builds on the elements he has laid in the first issue.

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4 thoughts on “Scott Snyder’s “The Wake”

  1. I don’t get Snyder. I’ve really been trying to get into his Batman and having a lot of trouble. Never made it past his first Swamp Thing. I didn’t even like his episode of Fatman On Batman. His ideas are interesting but his writing does nothing for me. How does this compare to those other titles?

    • I feel like the pacing for this one is going to be similar to “Swamp Thing”. Snyder has a way of building toward things at his own pace instead of jumping directly into things, which is a big reason why I invoked the name of Kubrick in this own. He takes a lot of risks, and sometimes they just don’t have pay off for some readers. At the end of the day, it’s just a matter of taste. I have a feeling that if you aren’t a Snyder fan, you won’t like “The Wake.” It’s different from all his other works that I’ve read, but it’s still just very Snyder.

  2. Snyder’s voice is bland to me. There’s no personality that I can see. He sometimes reads like a pale comparison to the writers which influenced him. BUT I’m probably reading too much into it. Probably just a bitter cat who wants his old favorites back. At least I’m glad he gets people reading. Oh, and I know this is sacrilege, but I don’t like Kubrick either. I know, no one will ever let me talk about movies again.

    • Well, like I said, it all boils down to taste. I dig Snyder’s stuff, especially with Batman and Swamp Thing, but that’s just me. I dig Kubrick’s films, especially “The Shining” and “2001,” but again, that’s me. If you told me that 5 years ago, I probably would have tried to start shit about for no apparent reason, just a mix of dumb teenage anger and the fact that I didn’t get any in high school.

      But at this point, it’s just one of those things that people tend to get wrapped up in too much. Leroy and I refer to it as the “Dark Side of Nerddom,” that sort of Simpsons Comic Book Guy arrogance.

      I know that took a bit of a weird turn, but it’s cool because neither are doing that kind of thing here. I will say this, though: for as much as I love “The Shining” and horror movies in general, I’ve NEVER been a Stephen King fan. Never could pinpoint what it was about his writing that turned me off, but it just doesn’t do it for me. So, there’s a bit of sacrilege of my own.

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