After a longer than normal break, The Wake returns, and it’s completely different from the first half, which is just brilliant. Now, the brief glimpses we got of the future take centre stage, and it’s almost like a different comic, yet still just as good. It was clear from those short scenes that Scott Snyder had something epic for us around the corner, and now it’s here!
The focus of the story here is now on Leeward, who opens the issue out in the open water, fishing for evil fish-people (they are called ‘Mers’ in the future) to decapitate and sell. She trades this heads with her friend Pub in exchange for an ‘ear’, which looks to be a piece of radio technology. Leeward lives alone in a broken down plane, and she spends her days listening underwater, trying to find proof of some prophecy that will save the world from the rising waters and the Mers. Snyder does kind of drop us in at the deep-end here, with some future jargon, but it’s not too hard to understand, if you made it through Azzarello’s Spaceman, you can make it through this easily. I really dug the double-page spread where we are given a map of what the United States looks like now, not only because if scratched my fantasy novel brain, but also because of the fun ‘American Vampire’ reference Snyder drops in. The map is from ‘Skinner Airlines’ and promises ‘Sweet deals’, heh.
The story then switches over to the humans who look set to be the villains of this half of the story (along with the Mers of course), the Army (or ‘Arm’) under control of the Governess of the Northwest Territories. We find out that somehow the Mers are getting stronger, and also that this Governess is pretty damn brutal. She talks, seemingly innocently to a young soldier about how the national bird of America is no longer the eagle, but the crane, and then has him shot for being the one who sold the ‘Ear’ to Pub which he then passed along to Leeward. It looks like she has some kind of vested interest in stopping people from discovering the truth at the bottom of the sea.
The issue ends with Leeward being accosted by the Arm, but just as they grab her, the Ear picks up a transmission from… Lee Archer! Yes, the hero of the first half of this story, who we thought had died, somehow survived, and although she’s probably dead by now, her message apparently holds the key to saving the world. This was an intriguing start to this second half of The Wake, and it can only get bigger and crazier from here for sure.
A big part of how good this book is continues to be Sean Murphy’s fantastic art. His sense of design and detail is just spot on, and this dystopian future looks lived in and real. I also liked how Matt Hollingsworth adjusted his colouring style compared to the first 5 issues, the palette here is a lot lighter and brighter, which fits with the more sci-fi, less realistic story. The scale of this story was always just hinted at, but now it’s a true epic, and I can’t wait to see what Snyder and Murphy have in store.