REVIEW: Awakening #1 (Archaia)

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Awakening, like all zombie stories, starts the same way. Someone notices that something isn’t right and  they either ignore it or try to do something about it. They tell someone who’s skeptical and then, suddenly, it’s undeniable.
However, in Awakening there’s no suddenly. The build is slow and magnified by the artwork. It’s hard to tell what you’re seeing, just as it’s hard to tell what’s really happening in the city of Park Falls.
The art is some beautiful hybrid between sketching and collage. At first I thought it was messy, but then I realized it was like a good score or well dome lighting in a movie. My inability to fully see detail in Awakening enhanced my experience of the story. Much like the artwork in 30 Days of Night.
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But the artwork isn’t Awakening’s only selling point. The ground felt familiar but not over done. The story doesn’t jump straight from confusion to panic. The only person (aside from the post-omnipotent narrator) who believes the increase in murders in Park Falls is due to anything aside from bad days is a crazy ex-scientist who runs around in a surgical mask…
There’s room for this type of character because of the slow build and the the fact that the rest of the world isn’t yet in on the new world order. There’s no prepping or fighting. It’s all suspicion and finger pointing.
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The detectives are trying to solve the murders, the crazy lady is trying to convince our protagonist she’s a reliable source and our protagonist just wants to go about his day like the sky was secure.
Park Falls calls in a specialist and there might be a little less skepticism going around.
The first issue of Awakening is free on ComiXology. Subsequent issues are are $1.99.
[rating:4/5]

Review: Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)

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Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)answers the question “What’s my motivation?” for payers of Hawken the game.
Hawken by Adhesive Games and Meteor Entertainment is part Total Recall, in that it’s set in a ruined dystopian planet; part my desperate hopes for what Pacific Rim will be, a ridiculous mecha battle royal; and part Gundam where everyone is fighting for or against a team but no one is really right.
But then Hawken: Genesis adds in a heaping helping of Top Gun.
It sounds like chaos on the surface but it’s actually a brilliant premise.
Everyone fled Earth for a brighter future on Illal but their hopes overwhelmed the new planet, destroying it faster than they destroyed Earth. Unfortunately for the poor planet, devastation isn’t enough and they’ve found one more resource to pry from the corps of their new home.
Already in the midst of an inter-corporation world war the citizens now have reason to stay and fight too. Not for honor or freedom but for their own slice of the pie. That is why they came after all.
From the jump, “the Hawken” is mentioned in a laundry list of terrible things that shouldn’t have happened, terrible things that ruined a once optimistic planet. I’m not clear what it is though… But I am curious.
I’m always drawn to a good premise, a well thought out backstory make most things that much more wonderful for me. And when I read the Hawken: Genesis issues put out by Archaia Black Label for the franchise, I was blown away.
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Comic Review: The Strain #1

The Strain #1 [1. Review copy provided by Dark Horse]
When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event-an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness.
* From director Guillermo del Toro and novelist Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves)!
* Adapted for comics by Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham!

I’ll be honest, I have no idea if The Strain is going to go apocalyptic or not- but it’s a damn good comic.
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