Writer: Nick Tapalansky
Art: Alex Eckman-Lawn
Letters: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
“The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of missing persons and gruesome murders. Town crazy Cynthia Ford comes forward to speak with retired police detective Derrick Peters one January afternoon with information about the strange happenings, claiming that they're connected. But does she hold the key to unlocking the mystery, or has she gone completely insane? To Derrick''s disbelief she utters one word: Zombies. The answers await Derrick, federal scientist Dr. Daniel Howe, attack survivor Sandra LaFayette, and the rest of the city, but will they lead to salvation or the end of life as we know it? Investigate the mystery and dive into the horror of the critically acclaimed zombie noir series, Awakening, now collected in one giant volume, including a short story, production extras, guest pin-ups, and more”
As many fans of Awakening will know, this book is literally years in the making. Issue #1 was originally released in 2007 and only three issues were released before Archaia's restructuring in 2008. A hardcover of the first five issues were collected in 2009 as Volume 1, with the concluding five issues released in October 2010 as Volume 2. This is the first time the the book is being published as a complete story and it really shines as such.
Awakening Omnibus follows Derrick Peters, a retired detective now working as a private investigator, as he tries to unravel the mysteries of Park Falls. He soon gains the help of Dr. Daniel Howe as Howe searches for both an answer to what is happening and a cure for those affected. This book starts at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and walks the reader through the townsfolk's efforts to ignore, prevent, take advantage of, and finally to accept the crisis. Anyone tired of the "28 Days Later" style of skipping through the beginning details will find Awakening Omnibus a refreshing change. There are also several subplots within the main story that stay strong and prevent the zombie apocalypse from getting stale. With one of the main protagonists a private investigator and another that is a scientist, this book really reads more like a mystery than a horror story. The story's writer, Tapalansky, had set out to create a different sort of zombie book and has been successful in that endeavor.
Eckman-Lawn's art is dark, moody, and occasionally suitable for framing. There are some seriously stunning panels here that have the perfect blend of grit and polish, particularly in the earlier chapters. Also, the color palette is nicely limited to keep the reader feeling the oppression of the doomed city. If a criticism is to be found, it is that occasionally one of the main characters looks a little more cartoonish than was likely intended.
This book is a must-buy for anyone who has enjoyed any of the previous books and highly recommended for anyone interested in watching a zombie apocalypse from the beginning. With a price point of $24.99 for 320 pages, this book is a deal. Awakening Omnibus is set for a September release and available from local comic shops as well as amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.