The Waking cashes in on the zombie trend, but it does so with a twist. In the book --- originally a four-issue series --- recently murdered victims come back to a form of half-life, a state they reside in until they claim the lives of their murderers. The plot is somewhat rushed, which is a shame, because the horror aspects of the story are where the real fun lies. Writer Raven Gregory shows all her cards a little too soon, bringing her characters --- a team of detectives --- in on the secret fairly early on. That leaves a less interesting mystery --- how and why the zombies started appearing in the first place --- to be solved, but the real payoff is in the suspense of watching the dead stalk their victims.
The art, by Vic Drujiniu, is often luscious, and the colors suit the eerie, somber mood. It’s unfortunate that the art pays so much fanservice. A particularly distasteful scene involves the detectives turning up the air conditioning while questioning a string of young coed witnesses --- with results visible through the ladies’ shirts. One of the detectives’ wives is a nymphomaniac who has trouble keeping what little clothing she does wear from slipping off or flying up. Even the lone female detective is fairly bursting out of her clothes in most scenes she’s in. It’s a shame the creators felt they had to resort to that level of skin. The story has merits and could have sailed just fine on its own. Granted, this is comics, and exaggerated female body parts are only to be expected. But still…
Despite these qualms, I would have enjoyed seeing The Waking go on a little longer if it meant the story could have unfolded a little more slowly and methodically. There’s a fun story in here for fans of the horror genre. Hopefully Gregory and Drujiniu will revisit it and be given ample opportunity to let the story play out at a slower pace…with the focus on zombie chills rather than chilly interrogation rooms.
Reviewed by John Hogan on January 4, 2011