Thursday, November 1, 2012

Green Wake: Volume 1

*Tunes of the Day-Silent Hill OST-Silent Hill (other side) (From the blooper reel)*

To Green Wake I go.... WARNING, this comic is MATURE RATED for gory, nudity and general other things! NOT A KIDS COMIC!

Well,... This is the pits.

Review a horror comic, I said. Nothing could possibly go wrong, I said. There’s NO way I could, say, be transported into the comic! Y’know, even though it happens to almost every other reviewer on the web around halloween!!

So, as you may have figured out by now, I had planned to review Green Wake Vol. 1, a horror favourite of mine. So what happened? I get abducted by frogs! Frogs! Because this is what happens on internet review sites and I’m a totally original person.

And if were going by Reviewer Logic here, then the only way to get home, is a review. And that WOULD explain why I have my computer with me...

Green Wake was a comic put out by Image a few years back by Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo. The entire story is told in two volumes, but I’m going to take a look at the first one today. Actually, you can read the entire first volume, plus the first issue of volume 2 for free at So that means I don’t have to worry about spoilers!

Brrr...I’d better get started... It’s... getting colder out here...

Morley Mack awakens from a car crash, to discover that his companion in the car, Anna, is dead. After a scream of pain, frogs gather around, as Morley sinks deep into the ground.

We arrive at Green Wake, a cold, damp land, inhabited by frogs, and a gloomy looking populace. People arrive in wooden boats, but how do they leave? How did they get their in the first place? People disappear, but there are no dead bodies in Green Wake.


Morley Mack and Krieger have been in Green Wake for some time, but not once has their been a murder there. After examining the body, Morley suspects a woman named ariel to be the culprit, finding her locket in the palm of the victim. At that moment, thunder strikes, signalling that someone new has arrived.

The man, Carl, is taken back to Morley’s placed, and after making sure he’s good and drunk, give some exposition about the town. Carl is obviously not buying it and takes off. 

Anyway, Morley eventually finds him and explains some of the towns history. Stay long enough in Green and you become frog like. Rumors say that the only way out is through a place called “Babylon”, but Morley doesn’t believe the stories. However, Morley is pretty sure that Carl has some connection to the Ariel and the murders. There are no coincidences in Green wake...

No safe places either, as Morley discovers another body. Mr. Goodwin, a now former friend of Ariel. Before he dies, Goodwin talks. Looks like Ariel’s looking for Babylon.

Finally, Carl tells his side of the story. He and Ariel were in a steady relationship. Right before he graduated university, Ariel traveled the world. When she returned, three months earlier then expected, Ariel admits cheating on him. Carl tells Morley that he broke up with her. His last memories before arriving in Green Wake was him finalizing the end of their relationship.

Meanwhile, Ariel finds her “Babylon” in the form of a drug house and a new victim.

Next issue starts with a flashback involving Morely and Anna. We get several of these flashbacks and musings throughout the book, hinting to their relationship, how they met, and makes for good insight into Morley’s mine.

It’s not long before the investigation leads them to the next victim, the drug dealer from earlier.Though the wounds are different, Morley is sure its Ariel work. I'm pretty impressed with the detective work going on. Morley seems to have a nack for it.

However, the investigation is interrupted when a couple of junkies find our two heroes... standing above a dead body.

And then we learn why you should never mess with the Krieger.


Once the fights over, Morley discovers something on the body: Carved on the chest is an image of a frog.

Carl meanwhile, finds his own little frog in the form of a small carving, right before breaking into Anna’s place. He finds her journal and burns it in secret before he and Morley and Krieger head to the butcher---Uh, I mean, “temporary coroner”

Like the third, the other two bodies have the frog carved into their chest. Carl shows them his carving. Apparently everyone gets one when they come to green wake, though from where, they can’t say.

With no leads, the boys head out and...


Morely runs after, being the only one who can see the ghostly Anna. Anna leads Morley to the door to the Senator, the oldest known citizen of Green Wake. It’s from the froggish senator that they learn something very serious about the frogs.

Each one has the frog tattoo, just as the corpses. He also warns them that Green Wake protects itself, before chowing down on one of the frogs.

Uh. Ew.

At this point Carl is cracking. Ariel might be in danger, if they don’t find her. He suggests the abby.

Meanwhile, Ariel has found a new victim. Right before...

O_O SERIOUSLY GUYS?! My jaw can only drop so much!

Issue three starts with yet anther another flashback with Anna, where we learn that she was also pregnant the night she died.

Now back to our regularly scheduled mind-screw...


Ariel finds her way to the abby, escaping the monster. Ariel is greeted by Father Ishum who offers council. Ariel admits that she can’t feel warmth anymore, not even the candles. Father Ishum tells Ariel that she’s “lost her tether”, and wants to talk about Carl.

Outside, Morley and the boys have found the abby. And the monster. It sinks into the ground before Morley can catch it. Krieger is thoroughly freaked out. Carl is... well...

Just a wee more freaked out then Krieger.

The blind man ishum greets them. He tells them that Ariel’s path is set but needs to speak to Morley in private.

Uh, dude... you got... ah, a little something in your... eyes...Oh. Nevermind.

 In the confession booth, Ishum convinces Morley to speak his mind. Everywhere he goes, Morley is forced to remember Anna, and the night she died. He thinks about her last moments so much he’s beginning to think she’s not even real.

Meanwhile, we get a short nice seen between Krieger and Carl. Krieger reveals that they aren’t actually cops. They’re just the only one’s willing to get involved. After Krieger refuses to tell Carl about this old life, Carl wonders if the real problem with Green Wake is everyone keeping their secrets to themselves.

Back in the box, Morley asks Ishum what that monster was but Ishum continues to be cryptic, saying that Green Wake is “trapped between opposing tides”.

Morely blames himself for the car accident. He believes Anna blames him for what happened. And Green Wake is punishing him. Ishum asks if Anna would really want him to suffer.

At this thought, Morley has a vision. He sees...

...My nightmares for the next month. Guh.

When he wakes up, Morley tells them Ariel is after the prophet.

This prophet, is... uh, for lack of a better term: “Local crazy person”, constantly trying to find the way to babylon. First it was licking frogs, this time, it’s the river. See, when the citizens look in the river, they see glimpses of their old lives. Ariel sees Carl. The rest of the crowd leaves, ignoring the prophet. However, Ariel makes her romantic intentions knowns and...

Uh, has anyone else noticed that Ariel's hair has dramatic wind powers now... and keeps getting redder?

Anyway, they leave together. But Green Wake is preparing to "protect itself"

Issue 4 starts with Morley’s first meeting with Anna, as he begins to come to termss with Anna’s death.

We spy in on Ariel as the prophet gets to third base... but Ariel plays a little two rough... She claims she's “not ariel anymore”.  And attacks the prophet, transforming into a monster.

Morley and Krieger make it to the apartment and send Carl to watch the back, but it's too late. Following the pools of frogs up the stairs, they find a Torn up Prophet.

 In the alley, Carl and Ariel finally meet face to face. Unfortunately, their meeting is interrupted by another monster, just as gruesome as the last. Carl tries to hold off the monster, allowing Ariel to escape. The monster sees something rotten in Carl and infects him before leaving.

Back at the investigation, Morley’s found the link between the murders. I won’t spoil it for you, but it is gruesome.

Finally, the truth hits him. Why do they see their memories in the water, what would happen if they embraced them. His guilt swallowed him. But Anna wouldn’t want him to suffer. Realizing this, he felt in control. Examining the blood smears, he believes that they represent the bridge, over the river.

Krieger finally admits that before he came to Green wake, he hurt someone he loved. All of them hurt someone they loved before Green Wake.

The only question... what did Carl do?

We finally get our answer as a monstrous Ariel looks into the river over the bridge and remembers.

In the real world, Ariel has fallen apart. Mail and dishes are pilled up and she’s drowning in booze. Carl is there.

O_O Ooooh... THAT’S what he did.

Finally remembering, Carl finds Ariel at last.

I was originally confused when I read this. Carl was taken to Green Wake immediately after killing Ariel. But Ariel was in Green Wake for some time before Carl arrived. This means that either time is extremely wonky in Green Wake, or the characters must exist simultaneously in the real world and Green Wake, caught in some kind of depression.

We come to the final issue. Ariel and Carl finally meet, both becoming monsters. He begs to let them start over. But Ariel is gone. All she is now is his memories of her.


The "fragmented" Ariel merges with Carl, as Green Wake transforms him.

O_O *crack* Welp, there goes my jaw.

Carl admits killing her to the guys. But they are interrupted as Carl begins to sink into the ground. Before he’s dragged away, Carl shouts:

They couldn’t save him. But Morley understands now. He knows how to leave Green Wake. Krieger notes that Morley was never satisfied with Green Wake, unlike him, and that could be why Morley still looks human.

Morley knows he can’t stay here, he has to forgive himself and move on. As he and Krieger talks, he climbs on the edge of the bridge. He’s run enough.

As Morley prepares to jump, we see images of Morley in the real world, walking to a funeral home. He tells Krieger that “the best thing we can do is forgive themselves”, before diving into the water.

Past, present and dreams of what could have been hit Morley hard as he stares at Anna’s casket in one of my favourite scenes of the book.

Hmm... I wonder.


After the funeral, Anna’s father tells Morley that he can lean on them for support. They’ve seen him in his house but Morley has separated himself from the world, confirming that the inhabitants of Green Wake also exist in the real world as the same time.

Morley asks the father is he’s heard of a place called Green Wake, but can’t remember wear he’s heard it from.

As Morley is left alone, the rain begins and he realizes that he can’t move on. He can’t forgive himself.

Back in Green Wake, lightning has struck and Krieger heads out to due his duty. The town has changed, with citizens carrying guns, and the appearance of snow, instead of rain.

In the new boat, Krieger finds that the new arrival is... not Morley. And very, very dead.

But, behind Krieger, a familiar face is back in town.


So that was Green Wake Volume 1. True, a bitter sweet ending, a depressing ending to some, but keep in mind, the story isn’t over yet. There is still one more part to the story, which I won’t be covering now.

So what did I think?

Green Wake vol. Is a good taste of the mind screws that come next in Vol. 2. And trust me, I there's still a lot of juicy gorey bits I left for you to find in volume 1.

We get introduced to key characters and concepts. Green Wake goes back to the old fashion stories I loved to read. Lovecraft with frogs, basically. You get a real feel for all the personalities of the characters, without going into the stereotypical. You can really feel how world weary they are, and that Krieger and Morley have been in Green Wake for some time. I even felt a bit sorry for Carl.

A bit.

You can really feel how world weary they are, and that Krieger and Morley have been in Green Wake for some time. But keep in mind, there is a lot of phycological horror and symbolism going on here. The story is subtle. When Anna appears in Green Wake, we see a small baby near here, implying her pregnancy.

And we get a small spot of humour now and then to lighten the mood. Usually from Krieger.

You’re not going to get spoon-fed every answer. And Every time we got an answer, a new question appeared, usually in the form of some grotesque monster that wants to eat your face. 

If you’re not interested in those kind of stories, this might not be for you. I, however, love it! Even after and first volume, I was filled with questions that made we want more. And for a horror or mystery, that’s good. I went back, re read the issues, and started putting the pieces together, and started catching the small clues.

Rossmo's art set’s the tone of Green Wake nicely. It always feels cold and lonely in Green Wake, even with the fairly large population. He has a sketchy style, but enough detail to tell what’s going on, and detailed expressions.

Though I know that not everyone is a fan of Rossmo’s more painterly, sketchy style. But, I’ve been reading Rossmo’s work for several years now, and I can definitely say there’s there’s usually mean to the madness. Splashes of ink are used to convey the action or feelings of characters, sound effects or just the mood of the scene, most noted in Carls big scene.

Now, Green Wake was planned for 21 issues. But despite golden reviews, and Wiebe receiving a Shuster award for his work on Green Wake and his other title, Intrepids, Green Wake was canceled after the 10th issue, due to lack of sales (ya, try to wrap that one around your head).

Don’t worry, Volume two is still a very solid story, we just didn’t get a more in depth look at characters and some things are left open ended. Which isn't always a bad thing.

For those that have read both issues and still have a few questions, Wiebe has revealed many mysteries to Green Wake on his blog, including concept and characters he wanted to go into but couldn’t and reveals that Green wake was also based on some personal experience of his. There are still some things he doesn’t explain, which you can probably ask him about on the image forum right here. But I’m hoping he’ll be able to return to Green Wake one day with something like a Green Wake anthology, or a Lost Stories series or something.

But either way, Green Wake is a disturbing, and creepy mystery for the season!

Okay. That’s it. Review is over.

Can I go home now?


Oh fudgesicles.



Oh, whatever. I’m home, I just got to go nuts about a favourite comic of mine and it’s... no longer...Halloween. Crud.

Screw it. I’m gonna call this a win. Who's up for some day-after-halloween-trick-or-treating!? Now were did I put my costume...?

Oh! And this moneth is Nanowrimo! I won’t be posting anything related to the month on the sketch-log, but I will be posting art and writings all month at ArtSlug! Once again, there should only be one article here next month, but it will be fairly short. Until then:

Tegan Dumpleton aka SlugLady28

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