Saturday, March 17, 2012

Talking Trades: Green Wake Vol. 1

Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo’s Green Wake was one of the creepiest, visually interesting and engaging comics on the stands. With it’s premature cancellation due to low sales, now is the perfect time to support creator-owned material and check out Volume 1. The first trade follows the original five-issue miniseries before it was promoted to an ongoing.  The story centers around a kind of strange purgatory known as Green Wake. Its mysterious inhabitants have little desire to escape the nowhere place; instead, they have resigned to their existence in a world that’s neither here nor there.

After a string of  gruesome murders, Morley Mack tries to hunt down the prime suspect– the enigmatic and elusive Arial. The actual plot, while gripping, is secondary to the actual mystery of the story. You’re just not quite sure what’s going on, in a good way. The characters are detached enough to remain enigmatic, but developed enough to be able to sympathize with. Morley and his tough as nails partner Krieger have a liability that defies reason, while some of the other characters a just plain creepy. Weibe and Rossmo introduce us to humans, frog-like people, monsters and other equally frightening things along the way.

Wiebe creates a sense of foreboding, a distant sense of menace, and envelopes it in a cloud of mystery wrapped in an enigma. The eerie goings-on and dark characters provide a symphony of powerful storytelling that’s impossible to predict. Everytime I think I’ve got things figured out, something even stranger happens and freaks me out all over again.

Rossmo’s art is visually spectacular. His unclean lines, stylized shading and layered textures make for a glorious reading experience. Green Wake is a messy, scary place, and Rossmo perfectly illustrates it. I can imagine some people hating it, because it’s not really traditional comic art, but I love it. It captures the tone of the book perfectly and is powerful in emoting all the crazy and freaky things the characters have to deal with. It’s wild, unruly, terrifying and full of energy and power. Rossmo’s work here is, I think, the best work of his career.

Green Wake was consistently one of my favourite books on the stands, and you should definitely check out the first trade.

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