By Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth
The Wake is a story we were first introduced to last year, with the first half taking place before the big flood. This year, starting in February, we were tossed overboard 200 years into the future – a future where going swimming is no longer seen as an activity of leisure. Leeward, the main character of the second half, spends her time throughout her half of the series tracking a message created all those years ago by Dr. Lee Archer, the first half’s protagonist. This final issue does a great job of combining the two halves and in doing so creates an ending that is both captivating and inspiring.
This series won Eisners this year for Best Limited Series as well as the series’ artist Sean Murphy winning Best Penciller/Inker – Both awards being well deserved. From the get-go you’re introduced to writer Scott Snyder’s knack for creating vast mythology. He’s a writer intent on recreating history and using real information to create smart and engaging stories. He’s basically found a way to weave Mermaids into human history in a way that if found 200 years from now could serve as a textbook to future generations and be believable. In this issue he brings back a lot of the notions and key points from past issues and uses them to construct the final message that ties the whole story together.
Sean Murphy’s artwork is as masterful as ever. He uses the play of the panels to his advantage and never seems to waste any space. Pointing out a single page in this issue, one that successfully showcases his play with the panels and the page, is a scene featuring Leeward taking a leap back down into the ocean. A panel sits on top of the page like a diving board as next she’s seen traveling down the page soaked in inks and Matt Hollingsworth’s great colors.
Colors have also been a fun part of this series. Matt Hollingsworth has created two different worlds between the first and second half just by his play with the colors. The first half being a bit darker, and the second half showing off more bright oranges and reds. In full page scenes he’s able to bleed colors on the page from blues to purples to pinks to oranges and give Murphy’s artwork even more life. A scene in this issue, taking place on a full page, shows off the talents of all three artists involved in this project. Snyder is telling a story about how terror can cause people to act irrational, build walls around everything in our lives, as Murphy depicts how this idea of terror has been applied throughout history, blending the scene from the ocean shore to the crashing waves to the darkest hours of our history. Hollingsworth beautifully colors this scene with his ability to blend the colors so seamlessly. Turning yellow sands to blue waves and giving life to this walk through history.
From the very beginning Snyder introduced a world where curiosity and bravery were the means to new worlds, and new experiences. In this final issue he brings that ideal back around full force and we’re left with a story that pushes the reader to look forward and chase after their own adventure.