From the look of the cover, Nick Tapalansky’s “Awakening” looks like a scary graphic novel. In many ways, it is. But it’s not a consistent scare. It goes from what looks like a world filled with horror, to a dull murder case that goes in different and often confusing directions.
While there are certain moments that will keep you interested, the overall story is a turn off.
In the once peaceful city of Park Falls, there has been a series of missing persons and gruesome murders. Town nutjob Cynthia Ford comes forward to speak with retired police detective Derrick Peters one January afternoon with information about the strange occurrences, claiming that they’re connected somehow. She also believes that zombies are responsible for the murders. Naturally, Peters doesn’t believe her. Compelled by their shared history, he looks into Cynthia’s evidence.
The investigation then leads Peters, federal scientist Dr. Daniel Howe, attack survivor Sandra Lafayette and others in the city down a shaky path as each must reconcile their past before facing what lies ahead. Throughout the graphic novel, these characters come to grips with all that they’ve been through. It is only the beginning. As the weeks turn to months, the death rate slowly rises.
While each character has their own story, the focus on the zombies is very limited. There are only a few instances where we see gruesome murders take place. Suspense is present, albeit for a short amount of time. The excitement because of this quickly diminishes. You’ll crave for more, to only be frustrated. That lack of consistency quickly deflates this comic.
Away from the often shoddy writing, “Awakening” features phenomenal art work by Alex Eckman-Lawn that fits well with the story. The style alone is chilling and gives the comic the extra horrific effect. It is the only positive this book has. After pages of running from one character to another, trying to figure out how the city’s dead body count is rising, the book gets boring. When you do find out several secrets involving the purpose of the killings, it is nothing to cry home about.
As you experience this dark journey, the overall feeling is one of disappointment. Instead of focusing on the zombies, the real root of the story, there is more focus on how these characters are trying to find useless answers. In terms of survival and experiencing an adrenaline rush, this story does not provide that at all. The lack of action and suspense takes away what could have been a phenomenal book.
While the truth is unavoidable during this story, “Awakening” should be avoided.