Review: The Waking #1

Published on March 18th, 2010

Keeping with the zombie love the site has had recently I am going to talk to you about the Zenescope book, The Waking.

At first glance it kind of looks like any other  crime book. A few officers and detectives at crime scenes, overly sexy women with cleavage to spare and ass hanging out of dresses. Yes, I mean that literally by the way, there is a panel where a women’s dress is up around her hips and her ass is out in full glory. With art that is the appropriate amout of dark and rough around the edges. Nothing really popped out at me as special flipping through it. This book, is not exactly as it seems, and that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is definitely true here. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it.

The book revolves around two very different, violent murders. You don’t even know it’s a zombie book until the end.  So anyone put off by zombies can still read this and enjoy it for the crime/mystery book this issue was. Besides the two crimes, you have this preview of a storyline yet to be tapped. An obviously distraught father and what we assume is his daughter, he put behind a locked door, asking, “Daddy is that you?”

thewaking1The four main detectives/officers bring a little something the others lack. You have the intelligent level headed partnered up with the street smart hot head and the naive new kid on the block with the veteran questioning his line of work. Pretty stereotypical of most crime books, nothing ground breaking in the character development yet. There is one aspect to the characters I thought was an interesting twist; the narrator, the veteran cop, is married to a nymphotic wife who jumps him any chance she gets, whether he’s interested or not.

The writing by Raven Gregory is smart. It’s never dumbed down but I think anyone can pick this book up and relate to the way the characters talk. I know there were several times I was reminded of my friends sitting around, cracking smartass jokes at each other’s expense. There’s one page where one of the detectives and an officer are poking back and forth at each other and the second detective chimes in, “If you two want, you can borrow my car and find a nice alleyway to cuddle up in.” There is a lot of humor in what is a pretty dark story line. I think it’s a good balance for the first book. A nice way to get to know the world this is taking place in, and the people living in it.

The art by Vic Drujiniu was so much more detailed when I took a closer look. You can see pain on the face of the father as he sits in front of the locked door. The first two pages were the most impressive to me. Yes it was appropriately dark but the pencils and colors (by Mark Roberts) worked so well together. They seemed to enhance each other. The rest of the book was nice but they didn’t jump out at me like those two did. There is also a lot of what I call “Liney art,” something I don’t care for. This is when the shadowing is done by lots of little lines. I know it is a good way to show definition and shadows but it just looks off to me. I don’t like the liney art. Thankfully, for me, it wasn’t so predominant in every panel.

The cover by Eric Basaldua and Nei Ruffino was creepy.  A freaky little girl,  4-6 years old, with an evil look on her face standing in the middle of a graveyard. The undead are rising from the graves all around her and she looks like she is their queen ready to command them. This cover is what originally caught my attention. There is great detail if the graveyard and the faces of the zombies. I think my favorite part of the cover is  the contrast of the little girl’s happy springtime outfit and dark terror of the night  around her. If I saw that coming at me I don’t know which would make me run faster.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It definitely sucked me in and made me want to read the next one.  So if you are a fan of crime books you just might like this and all you zombie fans out there, you may want to pick it up, if the undead action is as well written as this, I think you’ll be entertained.

Christina Flores