This was a big week. That made it hard for me to pick just one comic to talk about.
So I didn’t.
Vertigo’s The Wake is probably the most I’ve enjoyed a comic since my pre-teen years. Scott Snyder and Sean Gordon Murphy have created a millennia spanning masterpiece that is fresh and original yet familiar in the best way possible. It’s everything you love about post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies if they only started out as contemporary horror stories. Creatively presented in two chunks, the final issue brings together all of the seemingly disjunct elements from the first arc(and second arc, honestly) in a manner that without giving anything away, is pretty unexpected. Matt Hollingsworth really shines in this issue too. Without his adept color choices, certain scenes honestly wouldn’t have read as well as they did. Being a huge fan of Murphy’s work, to say that anyone could improve upon his line is saying a lot so way to go Hollingsworth, truly.
In a time when so many mini-series wrap with a lackluster finale, I am glad to say that The Wake did not disappoint. The team was able to maintain their unique vision throughout the series, which never really lost momentum, even with the brief hiatus between arcs. For me, having returned to the world of comics relatively recently, Snyder and Murphy have set the bar HIGH with The Wake. Few books on the shelves have art as rich and unique as what Murphy produces and this series really allowed him to shine. Some of the most kinetic panel to panel storytelling I have seen from an artist without getting too “cartoony” is broken up by stunningly lavish splash pages that really help to tell sweeping parts of Snyder’s story with an effortless efficiency. Each unique character that Snyder has worked to give a distinct voice is equally reflected in the art. This is what a creative TEAM looks like.
As sad as I am to see this fantastic series come to an end, I think I may have found the cure to my woes with Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s new Image book, LOW. Fortunately for me, and any other fans mourning The Wake, these two great books came out the same day.
Image Comics, and Rick Remender, have done it again. This is another stellar debut. Image is bringing such unique stories to readers with such rapid succession that I wonder when this train is going to run out of steam. I hope it doesn’t any time soon and if the first issue of Low is any indication as to where they are allowing their creators to go, it doesn’t look like it will.
Rick Remender once again teams up with Greg Tocchini to tell us a tale set far in the future on an Earth being threatened by the sun. The sun is nearing a point where it will consume the Earth and in order to avoid the intense radiation people have moved deep below the ocean’s surface. We are introduced to the Caines, our family of protagonists, in a very natural way that doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of the reader or the talents of the artist. Tocchini keeps a consistent look for each character making it easy to follow who is who, which can be tricky since Remender doesn’t introduce us to the cast of characters in a very stiff and obvious way like so many comics of old. This is as close to cinematic storytelling as a comic can get. There is a slow build toward a scene that clearly determines the direction for the series. I think. This is Rick Remender so instead of making up my mind about where this is going or what this is about I’m just going to go with it. I doubt that I’ll regret it.
At the end of the issue there is a letter from Remender essentially explaining a bit of the process or rather the way in which this series came to be. It has been in the works for years and it shows. This world is special in the realm of science fiction, not a feat easily acheived, and it is done very, very well. Anyone who is unfamiliar with Tocchini’s work should really do themselves a favor and look him up. Anyone who is familiar with his work would probably agree with me that this is his best work and he has created some great stuff. The delicate line work and stunning color palette make it so you can’t, and don’t want to, rush through this issue. The crazy world Remender has envisioned is brought to life in a way that I am sure the author would agree, only Tocchini could do.
Low features a refreshingly optimistic protagonist in a sci-fi comic that gives you the adventures you’d crave from something like Challengers of the Unknown, the family dynamics you’d hope to see in the Fantastic Four, with art that you’d expect to see in the most elaborate of European imports all in an oversized debut issue for just $3.99. This is why I’m doing double duty today.
I thought that I would probably just choose one beer for these two similarly aquatic tales but but instead decided to give two recommendations for helping to make this Wednesday the best day of the week.
My first pick, loosely inspired by the terrifying Mers of The Wake is an amber ale called Mermaid’s Red from Coronado Brewing Co. in Coronado, CA. Possessing nutty, malty, caramel notes, this is a bold beer for warm summer weather but it has a Mermaid on the label so I couldn’t resist. If you’re like me and don’t mind a bolder beer the Mermaid’s Red amber ale will reward you with a strong hoppiness and relatively high amount of carbonation. If you like IPAs but want a lower ABV, this could be the beer for you as it only has 5.7% alcohol by volume.
On the lighter side, I’ve chosen a pilsner from Louisiana based Abita. Specifically, the Save Our Shore pilsner. At 7% alc./vol., this unfiltered Weizen pilsner is a little stronger than other pilsners on the market and unlike those others it also doesn’t get skunky as it warms up, something I typically dislike in a pilsner. Perfect for summer, an added benefit to this beer is that .75 cents of each bottle sold is donated to rescue and relief efforts associated with the gulf oil spill. So while the shores in the world of Image’s Low are beyond saving, purchasing a bottle of the SOS Pilsner from Abita can help make ours a little more habitable.
Coronado Brewing Co.’s Mermaid Red and Vertigo’s The Wake along with Image Comic’s Low and Abita’s SOS Pilsner helped me to make today the BEST DAY OF THE WEEK!