Review: Awakening Volume 1

Ok folks. Today I am bringing to you my review of Awakening Volume 1, published by Archaia Studios Press and written by Nick Tapalansky, illustrated by Alex Eckman-lawn and lettered by Thomas Mauer. Now with this title you can come to different conclusions as to what this series might be about, but after reading it came to the conclusion that I applaud how the work was done and the direction they took. It all boils down to zombies. Yes I said it: zombies. But in a new way. Were this your typical zombie comic there would be tons of flesh-eating action and mindless violence. No my friend this zombie story was written with suspense and mystery in mind, letting the story slowly unfold for you in a small town where mysterious murders start to happen and the bodies are savaged in a manner that has the local police baffled. Thus enters our protagonist, a private investigator named Derrick, who has his own sort of mystery about who he is and what happened to him that makes him a private investigator. With only one witness to work with, Derrick begins the long journey to figure out what is going on in his small town that has large implications. Recently, a pharmaceutical company came to town and then just up and left, firing everyone and leaving their building abandoned and questions as well. What sort of things did they work on there? Could they be the cause of this zombie madness? Soon enough an outside source is sent by the government to help the local police solve the baffling murders in the form of Doctor Daniel Howe. Eventually Derrick and Doctor Howe team up at the behest of the chief of police, as Derrick used to be the best man on the force until something happened that made him a civilian. Slowly the two begin to work out the mystery of the missing drug company and what is driving these vicious attacks. How the story is laid out is done in a manner that lets you piece together things slowly and not reveal too much at once so that you can't really anticipate what’s gonna happen next. I know while I was reading it there were some things I didn’t expect to happen, but they did and now it has me hankering for the next volume. The style of drawing also helps inspire the sense of mystery and danger with appropriately placed foreboding shading in certain panels. The zombies are drawn magnificently as they aren’t drawn as your run of the mill, half-eaten, "blood all over me" type zombie. Rather, they look almost human with a touch of feralness. Another part of the whole package that was done well is that they don’t rely on zombies to be the shock factor or constant gore to move the story. Following our protagonist propels the story most of the way, with a bit of inner monologue and notes at the beginning of each new chapter to recap what’s been said and occurred. This format really helps keep you involved in the story. Overall it was not what I expected, and that's a good thing. I was surprised greatly in reading it and want more, especially with the cliffhanger ending you are left with at the end of the Volume 1. The style of writing and artistic approach are both a welcome change to the usual graphic novels and comic book genre. Hopefully more artists will go in this direction when completing mystery and horror style comics. I am sorry I missed this series when it first came out back in 2007, but now I've (and you've) been given a second chance to pick this volume up with a special coupon to order it. The coupon is shown below, so print it out and take it to your local comic book shop and order it. You better hurry though as the deadline is April 11th to get this bad boy ordered for ya. If you appreciate a good zombie thriller and mystery tale then this is gonna be right up your alley. Thanks for reading my review of Awakening Volume 1. I hope it was informative and inspiring enough to get you up off your couch to go preorder this comic.