Overview

Awakenings Vol. 1

Review

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Awakenings Vol. 1

Credits

  • Words: Eric Hobbs
  • Art: Gabe Pena
  • Inks: Jeremy Colwell, Chris Dreier, and Derek Fridolfs
  • Colors: Mauricio Pinzon
  • Publisher: Arcana Studio
  • Price: $15.95
  • Release Date: Aug 1, 2011

Last summer, thanks to publisher NBM, I had the good fortune of reviewing Eric Hobbs’ riveting OGN The Broadcast. A suspenseful, character-driven study of paranoia, family dynamics, and the hidden secrets of a close-knit small town, The Broadcast is a quiet, simmering tale vibrating with emotional tension and moody atmosphere.

On the surface, Hobbs’ latest offering from Arcana Studio, Awakenings, might seem to be a bit of a departure, considering the sophistication and intense character studies featured in The Broadcast. However, Awakenings was actually created first as a self-published webcomic and enjoyed a small, loyal audience, when Arcana offered to collect the first volume in a trade paperback this August.

Following the tragic downfall of homicide cop Spencer Straight as he relinquishes the safety of his cushy desk job to hunt down the fugitive responsible for mauling him months prior, Awakenings is a sprawling horror-action yarn with a breakneck pace peppered with very real and intense emotional beats. As Straight delves ever-deeper into a new rash of serial killings, he discovers all of the evidence points to himself as the perp.

Although different in tone and theme, Awakenings nonetheless showcases Hobbs’ burgeoning genius for realistic characterization. Not quite as mature as his work in The Broadcast, as evidenced by a slight overuse of profanity throughout the book, Awakenings is still a refreshing take on the popular werewolf archetype, displaying Hobbs’ inventiveness and thought-provoking characters.

My only gripe with Awakenings is with the art. Gabe Pena is an able penciller and Hobbs did an admirable job finding a virtual hockey line’s worth of consistent inkers to finish his work but it kind of feels like he may have settled. Although he does a commendable job remaining consistent throughout the TPB’s six chapters, telling the story clearly and concisely, Pena’s style feels a little too generic for a horror-action script of this caliber. While his page designs are clear and crisp, they lack any sort of atmosphere for Hobbs’ characters to play off of.

That being said, I still enjoyed Awakenings immensely. Hobbs casts werewolves in a new light, letting them take center stage over the ever-so-trendy vampire; touching upon the same themes of family, loyalty, and redemption found in The Broadcast. More commercial in tone than his offering from NBM, hopefully Awakenings will wake up fanboys (and editors) to an up-and-coming new talent in Eric Hobbs.

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