Rise and shine . . .
It can be hard to get out of bed sometimes. That snooze button sits atop your alarm like a siren, guiding you back to slumber for another nine blissful minutes. When you finally give up the hope that school/work is canceled and you can’t stay in bed any longer, some days it takes all the energy you have just to get vertical. Imagine how hard it is for the Earth to do the same. This is the concept of Action Lab’s new series, Awake, where we meet a young girl who has the power to wake a planet, bringing it to consciousness to protect and nurture the life on its surface. Young Regn is on her first such assignment, and something is off . . .
Susan Beneville has a lot of patience with her story, and she earns the right to be. This is a rich tapestry she’s weaving, and though time seems to be important to our heroes, we have the luxury of time and exploration of this new world she’s crafting. There’s a good sense of the greater world already in motion, and we are not lead through the nose to the plot, which is a refreshingly mature approach to a series that is intended for all ages. Balancing mystery and slow reveals seems to be the signature of this first issue, and it definitely works.
The slow pace wouldn’t be quite as enjoyable if it weren’t for Brian Hess’ stunning visuals. Feeling like a Pixar film come alive on the page, the vibrant colors and great flow allow us to really take in the planet that we’ve come upon, and give the characters a life and emotive quality that is great for any age to enjoy. There is also a patience in Hess’ contribution; this isn’t a book that jumps out to grab you, rather it lets you into its world, not caring to beat you over the head with its secrets, but let you wander and discover for yourself. As rewarding as I know this approach to be with children, it also thrills me and makes me feel as though the content isn’t talking down to anyone.
This seems like it’ll be a great series to introduce young readers to large, sci-fi concepts, as well as delight the old hands at the intelligence and simplicity brought to this work. The concept of living planets is by no means new, as Oa and Zonoma Sekot can attest, but the real treat is the path that Beneville and Hess weave through a trope with great possibilities for rich storytelling. Something tells me they won’t miss a one.
You can pre-order a copy through your local comic shop.
Share the stories that move you.