Kurt Wiebe and Riley Rossmo's "Green Wake" #4 continues this series' compelling spiral of supernatural detective fiction paired with striking potent visuals.
In "Green Wake" #4, "detectives" Morley and Kreiger continue the hunt for Ariel, with Ariel's ex-boyfriend and newest resident of Green Wake, Carl, in tow. The story jaunts nicely between present day Green Wake and Morley's past, showing us a glimpse of his life just prior to Green Wake, and the mystery surrounding what landed him there in the first place. Morley's past is fairly standard stuff, with little surprise, but the surprises in Green Wake continue to pile up, which is actually a nice contrast both as a reader and as a concept that separates Green Wake from "the real world." One world is straightforward and simple in its reality, while the other is full of things that need unraveling.
Kurtis Wiebe's writing continues to be evocative and beautiful. In good detective fashion, he gives just enough in each issue to bring you to the next revelation and set of mysteries. Wiebe has crafted a story in "Green Wake" that is endlessly compelling and nicely complex. When I reviewed "Green Wake" #2, I expressed concern that things were going to be too deliberately vague, but in the last two issues Wiebe has done an exceptional job laying down the answers that readers need, while maintaining enough mystery to keep readers guessing.
Riley Rossmo's art just gets better and better in this series. He has a particularly good time contrasting the simplicity and not quite lightness of Morley's previous life, with the dark creative insanity of Green Wake. The sketchy almost dirty style of Rossmo's art is a perfect fit for the story being told, but it's a credit to Rossmo that despite the loose evocative quality of his work, it's never unclear what is going on, even in a world as bizarre as Green Wake. Rossmo pairs his loose kinetic style with a subdued color palette of greens and browns showered with bright pops of red to incredibly powerful effect. He maximizes his use of spot color in both visual and narrative ways and it's just one more visual treat in this dense and layered book, chock full of visual delights. Rossmo also uses text to fantastic effect throughout this issue. One panel in particular stands out as representing what I would simply call a perfect comic panel - a panel that merges art and words expertly to create a much more powerful whole - which is really the entire basis of comics, now isn't it?
"Green Wake" is shaping up to be one of the great mini-series of 2011. Smart, fast moving, and full of intriguing mystery, "Green Wake" is a beautiful book that you'll be thinking about for hours after you finish.