Start to Finish: The Wake by Scott Snyder

Unfamiliar with what exactly a Start to Finish article is? Check out our first one for a better idea!

More recently, I’ve been looking for scarier, darker graphic novels to read. I purchased this one in the hope that it would satisfy my craving. Unfortunately, it was a pretty big disappointment.

The Wake is a 10-issue comic — you can purchase them all bundled together as a 256 page graphic novel to make this a true Start to Finish — about underwater, vicious mermen: almost a sort of underwater zombie. Dr. Lee Archer, a cetologist (a marine specialist on whales), is taken to a secret underground rig with other specialists by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS wants some help in understanding what exactly the underwater creature they have captured is.  But the creature gets out of entrapment and it’s not alone.

Dr. Archer

It starts out strong with a female lead, Dr. Lee Archer, who I really enjoyed as a character. We get a glimpse of her back story with some conversations with her son and her father. She is the main focus for issues 1-5. Issues 6-10 switch to a different female lead, Leeward, who is also a strong character — she’s independent, able to protect herself, and similar to Lee in many ways. Other than that, all of the smaller characters kind of get lost… one or two stick out, but overall their stories and personalities aren’t very intriguing. Plus, there just isn’t enough time to build up any of the smaller characters here. If you enjoy having that connection with the characters and leaving a story with memorable personalities, this isn’t the graphic novel for you.

The biggest issue with this graphic novel is everything it tries to accomplish in just 10-issues. It felt so rushed while I was reading it. I can appreciate fast-paced reading, but this got pretty atrocious. Especially toward the end, where there was just too much to tie up and Snyder attempted to do it in a couple pages. The ending wasn’t really an ending, which can be okay sometimes… but to me, this was too confusing. Maybe I need to reread it but I feel like I shouldn’t have to.

There were a few things I can praise about the graphic novel. It did in fact fulfill the thriller-horror theme I was looking for. Especially in the first half. It definitely reads like a horror story in the first couple of chapters and has the art to back it up.

The Wake art

The Wake Industrial
The art truly was incredible (see above for a couple examples). If you buy the entire hardcover version, there are a few pages in the back where you can see sketches of Dr. Archer, Leeward, Cruz, and the creature in multiple versions that Sean Murphy had drawn out. The creature went through 15 different sketches before they decided on one. The cover art for each chapter is poster-worthy. Everything is so detailed throughout – the different ships, planes, submarines, and other vehicles must have had a ton of time spent on them.

Dash the Dolphin

One of my favorite elements of this graphic novel is actually an animal character; Leeward has a sonic dolphin, Dash, who she rides around. Who wouldn’t want a trained dolphin as a best friend/method of transportation/life saver?! But as awesome as that is, it can’t save the poorly executed second half.

To conclude: I expected a lot out of The Wake and it just didn’t deliver. The idea of this story was originally interesting, it was set up well in the first half, the second half had the right elements to make it work, but it just didn’t follow through. The ending left me puzzled and unsatisfied. The characters were mostly boring and undistinguished. The human villains were lost with too little time spent on them.

This is like the Lost of graphic novels honestly. I’m sure there are people out there who loved it in it’s entirety, but for me, the beginning started out with a strong premise, and the ending was a lackluster, confusing, rushed mess that left me with a few too many questions.

Let me know what you thought about The Wake or other Scott Snyder comics! Is this his worst? Let us know your thoughts.

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Cool Stuff: Batmobile Phone Case

I’m sure everyone has wondered what it would be like to have a batmobile cell phone that has incredible features with LED lights and such. Oh, just me? Maybe you’ll change your mind after this video.

While I could do without all of the over-the-top dubstep, and while it is definitely a novelty and not practical at all, it is pretty dang cool. Phones are getting pretty big anyways, whats a little bit more lost pocket room?

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Contact me at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Blood Battle: Damian Wayne (Robin) vs Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond)

Back when Bruce Wayne was out of commission as a result of Final Crisis, there was a battle for the cowl. All of the Bat family for the title of Batman and eventually, Dick Grayson won out, as Damian became his Robin. However, there was no blood lost in that battle. Now, we pit the true sons of Batman against each other.

This week’s matchup: Terry McGinnis aka Batman Beyond VS Damian, the Son of Batman!

The Rules:

We’re putting both Terry and Damian at their best, even though they are not the same age. Both are relatively young in their superhero career and with separate backgrounds, both work with Bruce Wayne directly, and even though Damian becomes a future Batman in a more apocalyptic era, we’re gonna have him as Robin.

Sorry, Bloody Batman. You have to sit this fight out.
Sorry, Bloody Batman. You have to sit this fight out.

This is because there is no record of Terry working on his own as an older Batman, so their fight has to be comparable to the time under the guidance of Batman.

Damian Wayne

Talia Al Ghul and Bruce Wayne have spent plenty of time together, both as allies and enemies. However, when Bruce discovers he was drugged during one of their rendezvous, he comes face to face with something more frightening than some of the rogues he fights: Bruce discovers he has an illegitimate son with Talia. Only 10 years old and raised by the League of Assassins, Damian leads armies, uses swords, studies people and habits, and sadly, has killed.

The boy is ruthless.
The boy is ruthless.

Bruce both loves the boy and a darker reflection of himself and hates how he’s been raised. Taking him under his wing, Batman fights crime with his own Robin, going through the ups and downs of raising a child and trying to protect yet another Robin from the madness in Gotham. Although so young, Robin’s training both with the league and with Bruce Wayne has given him the ability to severely cripple thugs and the crime in Gotham.

Small, but not weak.
Small, but not weak.

Terry McGinnis

In the animated series universe, Batman has given up fighting crime at around late 40s to 50s. During one fight, Bruce’s body fails him, and to stop a murder, his only option is to reach for a gun. Frightened by his own desperation, he shuts down all Batman operations, to “never again” sink that low. Years pass, and a futuristic Gotham has corporate greed, more psychos, and a crime surge that the Gotham Police Department cannot keep up with. Enter Terry McGinnis, a sweet but roughly raised man in Gotham. He looses his father and look to Mr. Wayne for guidance. Instead, the work out a deal so that Terry can use the updated Batman suit and Bruce can guide him via comm links. What follows is the career of one of the most iconic Batmen. Terry’s suit is also equipped with cloaking, batarangs, a suit that can produce damaging shock waves, rocket boots, wings, and many more tools that have been created as a result of Bruce Wayne’s tenure as Batman. What makes Terry interesting is that he was adopted. Revealed in Justice League Unlimited’s “Epilogue” episode, Amanda Waller explains to Terry that he had been created using DNA from none other than Bruce Wayne.

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FIGHT!

Interesting enough, both boys were raised pretty rough. Damian’s training has given him a sense of royalty, but also has hardened him into not trusting anyone. Terry’s upbringing is in an even darker Gotham, where gangs of Jokers create chaos in the name of the prince of crime himself. In the odd scenario where we can put these two heroes head to head in a single timeline, Terry would fall prey to underestimating not only Robin, but to taking sympathy on a young boy. Most do this, and Damian takes advantage to surprise and subdue Terry. However, Damian can’t plan on the future, and Terry can usually outwit people using new gadgets. Size does matter, so physically, Terry can take and give out a bigger beating. Plus, Batman Beyond can use him environment better, both having fought people in the League of Assassins and with his creativeness in using the tools of the Bat. Damian’s abilities are never in question, but his rashness and stubbornness usually compromise him, leaving Terry to take this fight.

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However, we’re also leaving this fight up to the readers! Who would win this fight? Twee to @Nerdswole and say whoever you think should win with the #BatmanBloodBattle and we’ll reveal the results during the next Blood Battle!

Winter Preview 2014

We at NerdSwole tend to get wrapped up in everything DC and Marvel that we forget how many others amazing things are out there in the world of entertainment. Here’s a quick peek at what we’ve been loving and are looking forward to heading into the holidays.

TV

Over the Garden Wall

This little gem premiered last week and, boy, did it take me by surprise. From the creators of FlapJack comes the story of two brothers trying to find a way home. I found myself asking who this is targeted to, as the show is unabashedly adorable, cleverly written, and downright terrifying, all in 11 minute segments. Take a look at the first of these shorts and you’ll see what I mean.

ATTACK ON TITAN

The brutally beautiful anime of the year, Attack on Titan continues to stay strong in it’s incredibly grim tale. The world have been ravaged by enormous titans who eat people. As the world converges into a singular country surrounded by three main walls, all aspects of civilzation are thrust together in the most intense of circumstances. Politics, love, military, friendship, family, and everything else in the world is challenged when ruthless beasts terrorize humanity. With an intricate story, a whole host of characters (none of whom are safe), and beautiful animation, Attack of Titan will keep your heart racing with each new episode.

Pro Tip: Subs over dubs.
Pro Tip: subs over dubs.

JUSTIFIED

We have full coverage on why this show is amazing right here, but as it can’t be said enough, everyone should be watching this under-rated show.

COMICS

The Walking Dead

When you learn to separate adaptations from their source material, you can both enjoy things as they are and appreciate innovativeness when appropriate. Not all adaptions are 1 to 1 (Iron Man Extremis & Mandarin stories in comparison to Iron Man 3) and some are so off the mark (Claremont’s Dark Phoenix Saga to X-Men 3), but there are the stories that take liberties where they need me and stray off to their own path. Walking Dead is one of those creatures that succeeds in that right. I’ll put this one under TV shows as well because both accomplish the same task, keep things fresh from staying separate, and, most of all, put in the effort to keep us asking for more.

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Saga

Saga is an interesting book that takes everything that is great in Star Wars and succeeds by not being bogged down by the continuity of Star Wars. A space epic starring two young lovers from different species, rank, and worlds who fight to protect their child, Saga accomplishes so much development in just an issue a month. The story expands to a whole host of characters, civilizations, cultures, and incredible narration that is impossible not to love. If you’re not reading Saga, you clearly have yet to speak to Nerdswole founder Erin Abdelrazaq.

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Wytches

Scott Snyder is well known at the moment for American Vampire, Batman: The Black Mirror, and currently, writing the fantastic reboot of Batman for DC’s New 52. However, he’s begun Wytches, a disturbing horror tale about a young girl who sees horrific creatures and the family who has to support her throughout her youthful development. Snyder takes his own personal memories, creates a disturbing world, and with Jock’s incredibly grim art, warps everything that was once safe.

Have fun sleeping at night.
Have fun sleeping at night.

Resurrectionists

While this story takes on an old premise of body swappers and identity issues, Dark Horses’ new book creates a wholly new tone in this tale of the ages. Jericho is a man who is about to rob a museum for an antique egyptian artifact. As he dozes off before the heist, he awakens as an Egyptian ruler who finds himself betrayed by his employer. The parallels between his vivid dreams and his current underwhelming life collide as this heist becomes his way of finding meaning. This is definitely one to follow and as it just released this week, there’s no time like the present to check out this book!

Cheesy, yet appropriate. Welcome to page 1.
Cheesy, yet appropriate. Welcome to page 1.

Movies

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan’s latest offering is a space epic starring Matthew McConaughey, Michael Cane, and Anne Hathaway. Earth’s time is rapidly ending and the explorers are looking for their last hope: living on a new planet. The team travels through a wormhole and what they find on the other end is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Interstellar is beautiful, powerful, and you can see it now in theaters.

interstellar.black_.hole_

Big Hero 6

Disney’s latest offering cheats this category since it is based off an actual Marvel comic book limited series. Big Hero 6 stars Hiro Hamada who is technically gifted in robotics technology. After losing his brother, Hiro designs new robotics suits for him and his friends to combat evil. Disney has had a successful string of movies (Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph) and continues to push the envelope in this amazing film. Big Hero 6 is playing in theaters now.

big-hero-6-immersed

Horrible Bosses 2

Following up on the original’s success, Horrible Bosses 2 sees our trio, the returning Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day becoming their own bosses and creating their own hit product. When their distributor decides to cheat them out of a sale, the trio decides to take charge by kidnapping his son (Chris Pine) and insanity ensues. With Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Anniston, and Jamie Foxx reprising their roles from the original, Horrible Bosses is set to succeed where The Hangover fell off. Horribles Bosses 2 is in theaters November 26th, 2014.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The last in the epic Hobbit trilogy, we find Bilbo, Thorin and the rest of the dwarves dealing a new army to battle and an enraged Smaug to defeat. As this trilogy wraps up, audiences will be able to see two trilogies engrossed with the beautiful world of Middle Earth. This last entry releases in theaters on December 17th, 2014.

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There’s plenty more on the way (not to mention games), that we’ll be doing an exclusive preview for coming soon. Let us know on twitter, facebook, or the comments below what you’re looking forward to as winter fast approaches. Don’t forget to check out our Amazon store for all the great games, comics, shows, and movies we’re recommending!

SDCC 2014 – 75th Anniversary Batman Panel

If you didn’t know before, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of our favorite man in cape and cowl, the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, Bruce Wayne aka Batman. In his honor, the likes of Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, and Geoff Johns (WOW what an ensemble) hosted a panel on Thursday to talk about their love for Batman and what makes him timeless, it was a pretty epic 75th anniversary Batman panel to say the least.

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The panel began with a discussion of Batman’s ability as a fictional character to withstand a lifespan of 75 years, and this remained the focus throughout the entire panel. Each creator touched on different aspects of the Batman character and mythos that helped explain his durability and capability to stay relatable throughout generations. Morrison touched on Batman’s dichotomy of a devilish resemblance and embodiment of darkness versus him actually being on OUR side, fighting for good and humanity. Most of the creators touched on his relatability stemming from the sheer fact that Batman is the only human “superhero”. For a moment the discussion became a “why Batman is better than Superman” rant, but only to further explain that Batman’s flaws and humanness are main reasons why generation after generation, every one of us has loved him, valued him, and been inspired by him. O’Neil explained that Superman and Batman are on opposite ends of the superhero spectrum, every other superhero being in between. That while Batman may almost be at an unobtainable level of physical and mental capability, his ability to be broken and put in real danger make him that much more interesting. Adams and O’Neil further explained that “Batman can be put in any dangerous situation” in terms of creating his stories, which is why it has been so easy for his mythos to expand and for different versions of him to be realized.

During the expanded questions, the creators were all asked to name the moment that they first fell in love with the character. Most creators cited The Dark Knight Returns, by panelist Frank Miller, which comes as no surprise given the creative success of that story. At the end of the panel, a younger child asked which Batman is in the center of them all, referring to a comment Neal Adams made earlier about all the different versions of Batman. Appropriately wrapping up the discussion and summing it altogether, Frank Miller replied, “the best version of Batman is your favorite version,” giving somewhat of a meta-explanation for Batman’s long lifespan, and a lifespan that will continue to flourish.

Be sure to look at all our San Diego Comic Con 2014 coverage!