Monday, November 08, 2004

Preview: The Awakening

The Awakening
by Neal Shaffer & Luca Genovese
$9.95 Oni Press ISBN: 1-932664-00-9

Coming out a month too late for Halloween, The Awakening is the story of a mysterious killer who is stalking a group of friends at an exclusive girls' academy. In the beginning our point-of-view character is Francesca, a student new to the school, but after the killings begin the PoV shifts to others, including a detective investigating the case, one of the girls' teachers, and a school administrator who appears to have connections with a secretive religious sect.

Storywise this just didn't work well for me. The stuff at the begining with Francesca and her new firends is well done, but once the plot gets going it starts to fall apart. Besides the aformentioned PoV problem, the dialogue is often stilted and the ending doesn't make much sense--there is no clear motivation for the killer, no explanation of how we was able to perform the killngs unnoticed, and no reason why one of the victims wasn't killed. There's no payoff at the end, and the detective just stumbles on the killer.

On the other hand, the art by Luca Genovese is fantastic. I knew right from the first page that this was going to be a stunning book to look at, and it did not disappoint. The detailed backgrounds give a great sense of the environment, the figure work is expressive and well-drawn, and the layouts are dynamic. I've never encountered the work of Genovese before; I believe that this is his first work for an English publication (he's Italian), but hopefully there will be much more.

So, if you're looking for some stunning art in a comic, I can recommend The Awakening on that basis alone. But as a mystery/thriller, it comes up short.

Rating: 3 (of 5)


Dave Carter said...

Johanna (of Cognitive Dissonance) has also reviewed The Awakening.

Dave Carter said...

Another review, this one from David Welsh, the Precocious Curmudgeon.

Dave Carter said...

And another, from Kevin at Thought Balloons.

Anonymous said...

Well... Maybe the payoff seems inconsistent because...

that ISN'T necessarily the killer!
The idea is that there is a superior force at work, as the final three pages seem to suggest. It's up to the reader to decide: did he kill the girls? Was he just trying to stop a possessed Francesca from channelling more evil into our world?

michele (the Italian co-editor on the book)