Raven Gregory, creator of the Wonderland series, launches a new four issue mini to cash in on the undead craze. (Is it still a craze? More like a sleepiness, at this point, no?). The Waking is a gritty urban story drenched in buckets of rain, murder, and profanity. Oh, and boobs. Every woman here has back-breakingly huge boobs. That seems to be the modus operandi of the publisher, Zenescope. Capital T. Capital A. I'm a fan of both of those letters of course, but there's something so very tawdry about it when used in a comic. It's ludicrously sexy and they wallow in it.
Take your time to look at some of the covers on Zenescope's homepage. You see bright colors and outrageously hot women with huge boobs. It makes it hard to take any of the content seriously. Maybe its just me. Maybe I'm missing the whole point since I'm so easily distracted by nipples. Lest I get dragged into a debate about sexiness invalidating intelligence, follow me past the jump, won't you?
Fortunately, the story has a bit more going for it. It starts off with some curious, foreboding narration. The intro is eerie, even if its something we've seen before. The atmosphere is thick and soggy with mystery. It takes on the air of police procedural without getting into the crime babble of CSI. We're introduced to a quartet of cynical detectives. Here Gregory spends some time letting us get to know his protagonists. It's a welcome change than just focusing on whatever horror they're going to encounter. They're interesting and have clearly defined relationships, even if its tough to tell one trench coat from the other. They crack wise in morbid situations, almost to the point of absurdity, but it does help establish a rapport between them. As they investigate seemingly unrelated, macabre murders, bodies disappear and the mystery thickdeepens. Fortunately, the first two issues haven't yet spiraled into another zombie apocalypse. The approach it takes is a bit different, mining motivations from the halls of EC Comics.
The art here isn't bad, but could use a bit of polish. It works well in most places, but in others, it just seems unpolished with some rough line work. A few minor hiccups keep you from telling what's going on from panel to panel. I had to reread some of them to get the subtle 'jokes'. It's passable, just enough to get the story across. But again with the boobs. Vic Drujiniu loves some big boobs. The second issue lets him work out that particular fixation with an aggressive level of cheesecake. It's essentially one long, gratuitous shower scene.
The story has a reasonable build of suspense, but nothing that will steal your breath. I'm curious to see where it's going and just what's at the root of the mystery. While I don't care about the characters, the story is compelling enough. Gregory shows some definite chops and knows how to lay out the bait. He's held back by some adolescent predilections that are only exacerbated by the artist. But hey - if zombies and boobs are enough to propel you to the end of the tale, pick it up.