[Rotting Retro Review] “Green Wake: Volume 1”

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With the release of Riley Rossmo’s “Drumhellar” earlier this week, Bloody-Disgusting thought it time to revisit “Green Wake.”

The series follows Morley Mack as he investigates a series of grisly murders in the weird, forgotten town of Green Wake. A place that houses a myriad of characters that find themselves lost. The story is steeped in existentialism, the feelings of loss and regret, and the nature of isolation.

The series is dark, twisted, and thoughtful. The horrific murders that plague the town are brought to life by Rossmo’s incredible artwork. Every page paints the reader into a corner of isolation that never lets up. The colors, the art, and the writing come together to create something entirely unique and chilling.


WRITTEN BY: Kurtis J Wiebe
ART BY: Riley Rossmo
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $14.99

“Green Wake” is a truly horrific place, populated by people harboring loss, and reeling from a series of disgusting murders. Nothing quite makes sense, but the themes within will have you thinking for a very long time.

Morley Mack is doing his best to make sense of Green Wake. Which isn’t easy in a place that has been forgotten. Each resident we meet is weirder than the last, and the murders cutting through the city don’t seem to have a motive.

That is until Morley gets a hint of a mysterious young woman who seems connected to everything. She wisps about the pages through Rossmo’s incredible line work, and everything she comes into contact with is ruined.

As Morley pushes deeper into the case, we learn more about his personal demons. He is plagued by loss, and unable to forgive himself for his past. The city consumes him, and he pushes deeper into Green Wake in an attempt to make anything in his life make sense.

The story is steeped in a number of themes that will have your thoughts racing with every page. The limbo of Green Wake manages to pull every emotion you feel into a state of decay. Nothing feels right, but nothing quite dies. Instead it stagnates like the city around it.

Weibe manages to spin several plates without ever faltering. The story serves as a multifaceted look at loss and the places we go afterward. It’s seemingly about the choice we make when approached with change, and the price of guilt. The entire thing is concocted into one smooth mixture that will have you examining your own choices and questioning your own regrets. Which makes Morley’s journey is incredibly compelling.

The art flourishes with every page. Rossmo was born to draw this book. His moody line work, and incredible contrast serves to create a perpetual state of dread. In moments of pure horror he is able to capture a visceral sense of danger and create murder scenes that will chill you to the core.

The creature designs are positively putrid and will manage to shock even those with the strongest nerves. The bubbling boils and fetid flesh that create these monstrosities only serve to make the other strange inhabitants seem a little more normal, even though they aren’t. His character designs seem weathered and broken. He creates an atmosphere dripping with character that never manages to bore. Instead the city itself has as much character as any of the oblong creatures that populate it. The result is a haunting and jarring experience that never allows you to feel at ease. Rossmo is the master of subtlety, and uses his panels accordingly.

There are pages here where Rossmo goes for broke, and it totally works. Certain scenes are especially memorable because of Rossmo’s insane breaks in his art. Lines become wild, colors burst from every angle, and characters seem to float freely in space.

“Green Wake” serves up a heaping helping of horror that is steeped in deeper themes. The result is a highly surreal look at loss that never fails to impress. If you’re a fan of “Rat Queens” or “Drumhellar” than do yourself a favor and check this book out. You will not be disappointed.

“Drumhellar” # 3 and “Rat Queens” # 4 both hit shelves on January 8th, 2014. So look for a review of “Green Wake” volume two to follow.