A Comic a Day in May – Day 12: Stay Awake #4

Afterlight Comics’ psychological thriller Stay Awake has been a bit of a revelation in the issues so far, so the finale in issue four was always going to be a must-read.

While psychologist Isaac Banks had to run through the cases of three of his previous patients across those earlier issues, things really started to unravel for him in that third issue.  Here we see the fallout from those events as he’s now on the opposite side of that psychological assessment and when the cracks begin to appear it’s both unsettling and surprisingly needed

As Isaac becomes literally haunted by the three patients he’s been most recently focused on his own doctor is becoming increasingly worried about his state of mind,  Their regular sessions are seeing the impact of his visions take full effect and while there’s a yearning to understand what’s happening & why, the medical opinions trump all of that and a mix of meds & surgery are on the cards.

That’s understandable to a certain degree and while we are seeing more and more from both sides of the doctor/patient interactions there are still more cruel reveals to come for Isaac as he becomes more trapped in his own mind as the next steps are taken.

Joey Oliveira has weaved together a suitably disturbing yet intrigue glimpse at how elements of the mind are dealt with by doctors, nurses but also by the families and friends around them that feel a shared pain.  The shared characteristic of all patients involved seems to be the struggle to get themselves heard at a time when they can barely hear themselves think and Joey knows just how to turn that screw as things progress.

As things have progressed with the story across this series the art from Adrian Manuel Garcia has gotten stronger and stronger with each issue.  The glimpses of the unreal have blended just a bit too well with the sane world they inhabit and the mix of darkness and light feels like a tug of war is going on for every characters own mind.  Joey’s input with lettering has been key to keeping things tight with an edge-of-your-seat aura about things as they unfold before you.

The story and art blend together well and the focus on the patients themselves both in the real world and the unreal world sees the madness claw at reality in a way that has made this a page turner from the beginning.  The surprises that hit are timed perfectly and with each reveal there’s something crucial in making the overall story keep you on edge along with it until the very last page.  Gloriously unsettling and a key release in establishing Afterlight to be the type of publishers that can bring something new to the indie comic world…..and it’s kudos to Joey & Adrian for that.

Head over to the Afterlight Comics website to check out this and their other titles and keep tabs on what else they have on the way through their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages

9/10

G-Man

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