PopCultHQ reviews the trade paperback (TPB) AWAKE: Vol. 2 – Escape from Gremon from Action Lab Entertainment. Available this New Comic Book Day (NCBD), Wednesday, December 7th, the creative team for this series features writing from Susan Beneville, with interior and cover art by illustrator Brian Hess.
Writer: Susan Beneville
Artist: Brian Hess
Cover Artist: Brian Hess
Print Release Date: December 7, 2016 ($14.99 SRP)
Digital Release Date: December 7, 2016 ($5.99)
Age Rating: All Ages
What people are saying about AWAKE:
The second volume of collected work from the series AWAKE, issues #5-8, wraps up the first of hopefully many missions by Regn, our lovable, endearing, and selfless protector of Gremon with the ability to wake, heal, and commune with planets. An intriguing sci-fi tale, to say the least, AWAKE is alive with such recognizable and memorable characters: the previous mentioned young girl (Regn) gifted with these abilities of planetary proportions, her older brother Picar who neglected his similar ability and duties in waking/healing planets and spent five years wandering across Earth, his good buddy Chaybon, Regn’s wise and protective Tor (guide/mentor) Operi, the loyal kivit Bashi, the oppressive antagonist Baron Korup, and even the shady and questionable Gurk and Gen.
What AWAKE does so well is that it truly delivers an all-ages book. Not one directed at a specific age range, but one that can be enjoyed by young children to tweens and teens and even adults. It also doesn’t limit the reader to their specific age. What I mean by that is many comic books, cartoons, etc. tell a story to an age group (target audience) but in a sense keeps those readers confined to those ages. Sort of like, “Okay, you’re 8 years old. Here is what you should read. Anything else and you simply won’t get it.” In this sense, writer Susan Beneville doesn’t limit readers of this story to their age, nor to only what they can comprehend or understand. Her prose and narrative are smart, her writing, chosen dialect, and presentation will engage its readers, and immerse them into this fantastic world.
Beneville’s vision of this magical environment, this unique storyline, accompanied with her gift of delivering strong empowering messages, like overcoming fear, having faith in oneself, being brave, and what it means to carry great responsibility, make for a well-rounded, complete package of a series
suitable perfect for every age. From what Susan Beneville has given readers for nine issues now is quality, professional storytelling, the ability to create a captivating environment, and characters you love follow. Whether it’s future AWAKE-related titles or something completely different, Susan will be on to watch in 2017 to see what she has churning in her noggin’.
Visually, AWAKE just pops with its illustrations, color choices, and panel layout. Artist Brian Hess continues to produce such vivid imagery, and a sharp look for the series. Characters in AWAKE like Gurk, Regn, Picar, Operi, and Bashi all have a look that would translate easily and beautifully to an animated series. There were times where I saw Gurk in a panel and it reminded me of the look/feel of Batman: The Animated Series, which is pretty dope! Hess has remarkably depicted the characters in such a way to make them instantly recognizable. If AWAKE were to take a year or two off, you could pick right up where you left off and immediately recall things from each individual’s past. Artistically, Brian is truly adept at creating an all-ages series without the typical kiddie feel. This isn’t DC Super Hero Girls where your target audience is young girls within 4-5 years of each and that’s all. The look, feel, attention to detail, and air about the series can be appreciated by comic book fans regardless of age.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
AWAKE will incite younger readers to take a greater interest in reading, possibly look more into comic books, and is a terrific entry into the sci-fi and/or fantasy genre for the younger audience. Call it “sophisticated simple,” if you will (or something to that effect), that it is easy for anyone to pick up and enjoy but also clever enough to make for a compelling story and one worth following for any reader. Susan Beneville shows her talent and her range in tackling an all-ages science fiction tale that can reach a vast audience. It’s not campy, it’s not belittling with dumbed-down dialog. And not only is AWAKE an enjoyable read, there’s more to it. It can truly be a reflection of our current global climate, a world tearing itself apart and how it’s up to us to protect our planet. Beneville does a marvelous job at incorporating this important message (especially for our youth) without coming across preachy like a Captain Planet cartoon. It’s not a “Yeah, yeah, yeah. All right, we get it. Take care of the planet.” but more of a “Dang! We need to give a harder look at this and respect our resources.” Teaming up with Hess turned out to be an amazing pairing as he has taken Susan’s story and given it flawless definition.
If you read to your child(ren), want something with substance and quality for your kids to read, or are still young at heart yourself, AWAKE is a must for your home. It has a timeless quality that can transcend generations. Whether individually collecting all nine issues (#0-8), or with the two trade paperbacks, it’s easy to jump right in, follow the adventures of this amazing and enjoyable cast of characters, then contemplate all the possibilities which we may see from our globe-hopping Dola!
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
‘AWAKE: Vol. 2 – Escape from Gremon’
(which collects issues #5-8)
can be now on Amazon and ComiXology,
or at your local comic shop and various online retailers on
December 7th, 2016 (NCBD)!
Susan will be signing copies of
AWAKE – Volume 2: Escape from Gremon
Date: Saturday, December 10th
Time: 12:00-3:00 pm
The Comic Shop
14837 Washington Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94578
Be sure to follow the creative team!