Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Waking: A Tale of Two Mindsets

I was at Boston Comicon a few weeks ago and I picked up a copy of "The Waking" because I had read the first issue before, enjoyed it, and the reviews on the TPB were pretty good touting intelligence, a fresh new twist on the zombie story, a book that will have you on the edge of your seat, etc.  I can see that.  But I can also see this is a book published by Zenescope.  Yeah.  Cover time...

There is a cool concept here, and I'm pretty much going to tell you what it is, so *Spoiler Alert* I guess.  Basically, this little girl, the one on the cover, was killed and the murderer got away with it.  So the dad gets really sad, and starts to hate a lot, so people who were killed come back from the dead to kill their killers.  Apparently murder victims can never be at rest because of the harm done to them, but if they kill their killers, they will be.  But here's the thing, once the zombie kills the person it has come back for, it for reals.  So daddy doesn't want his little girl to kill the man who murdered her because he doesn't want her to die again.  He figures he'll just bring back everyone who was murdered and one of them will eventually get the guy who killed his daughter, but since she didn't do the killing she won't die herself, and they can be together.

Not a bad idea, I suppose, for a guy who can bring the dead back to life because he's sad, but if you think about it, doesn't that mean his daughter, murdered, will never find peace?  Maybe, but the topic was never addressed.  Other topics were however, but not with much enthusiasm or depth.  The obvious question is whether or not the police detectives, who serve as the protagonists of the story, should try and stop the zombies?  The line of questioning could serve to open the way for some pretty meaningful dialogue on justice, responsibility, the natural order of things, etc., but instead is summed up in about two panels.

Panel 1:  Female cop says, "I don't want to stop them because they're right." (Referring to the zombies...also, I'm paraphrasing.)
Panel 2: Male cop says, "Yeah, but it's our job." (Paraphrasing.)

And then boobs.

"Where did that come from?" you may be asking yourself. But remember, it's Zenescope, so take a great idea and the possibility to really tackle some issues, but imagine that idea was thought up by a fourteen year old boy.  So they let you know that the deep ideas, the good stuff, is there, but then the time and panel space needed to have any kind of meaningful discussion is instead replaced with a detective complaining about too much sex with his nympho wife (because there's plenty of that in this book...complaining, I mean) and shots of his wife naked in the shower...which really progress the story...yup.

There's other stuff too, like how we have four detectives as main characters, three males, one female.  The guys are all in dress shirts, ties, trench coats, typical city detective garb.  Our female detective, on the other hand, wears skin tight jeans and a top that is designed to expose massive amounts of know, the stuff professional women wear to work.  Not to mention that some of the dialogue comes across like it was written by a kid in high school who thinks it's a sign of maturity that he can make sex jokes with girls, while everyone over the age of eighteen lets out a heavy sigh, and everyone in the workplace files sexual harassment claims...

In the end, not to sound like a broken record, but it did come across as if there were two writers; one who thought of a cool idea and wanted to discuss some interesting ideas in an artful way, and the second who works for Zenescope and had to have boobs in a comic...cuz boobs are cool.  So, worth the $12.99 asking price?  Ummmm....I's a cool stepping stone to some interesting conversation, but really, if you just read this review...I think you're set.  I will tell you this though, the TPB contains issues #1-4, and is a self contained, full story in it's own right.  The guy at the booth who sold it to me (discounted for the Con) said they're making more and the next TPB issue will be coming out...eventually.  I probably won't be picking that one up.