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.
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 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.
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.