It is rare when you pick up an All-Ages comic that it is actually All-Ages. What is even more rare is that you will love it. Well thank god for Awake. I hate jumping the gun on a first issue, but I will anyway. This comic is great. Never once did I think that this was a kid’s comic or that a kid wouldn’t get it. Everything just came together for this new Action Lab story. For the first issue, we get some leveling of stories. The first story is of Regn. She is a healer of worlds and appears to be on a pretty freaking big mission. She is young and weary, so her constant companion, Operi, helps to sooth her in troubling times. Although you don’t quite understand her mission, where she came from, what her powers can totally do or a whole lotta other stuff, Regn is intriguing. Susan Benville’s gives her a lot of qualities that people have in tough times; self-doubt, humble, compassion, preservice, tenacity, and so on.
Whether these are good or not, we go through lots of emotions when trying to achieve a goal. I feel like there is always one cute cuddly animal that I love in All-Ages comics, and Awake has given me another one; Bashi. And guess what...he isn’t a cat. Bashi is a fox. And maybe even a hipster fox, hence the scarf. But really he joins Regn for no apparent reason other than he is a protector and probably is looking for a family. Although he has this cute outward appearance, he will take you down if you mess with his new friends.
The second story, which we get very little about, centers around Picar. He is seen fishing with his buddies but is mysterious in the fact he has a green mark on his face. Also he is being watched by an unknown character. I love seeing the two stories unfold, but especially loved how Benville got you hooked and kept you there the whole time. I think she does this with opening up about a certain character at one moment then moving quickly to something else. You are left wondering, yet dive in to see what happens next.
The art, by Brian Hess, is amazing. It does have a realistic cartoon feel to it, but the bright colors and cute characters, lets the reader’s eyes go crazy. I thought maybe Regn’s magic wouldn’t fit, but Hess makes the magic come apart of her. Every action she makes the magic is moving with her. I love seeing it be a part of her body, plus it doesn't hurt the magic pops off the page with dark and light purples. The mood it creates flows with the writing and gives the overall atmosphere a mysterious vibe.
Overall, I couldn’t see people turning this comic away. It is cute but still has a good story to tell. The characters, although some aren’t human, symbolize so much more. I can’t wait to see how Benville reveals more of these worlds and how Hess gives us more magic.
Awake #1 Writer: Susan Benville Artist: Brian Hess Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/16/15 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital