The Unwritten #6 (DC/Vertigo – Carey / Gross)
As the Tommy Taylor fanbase reels in the aftermath of the Villa Diodati slayings, Tom arrives at Donostia prison in Southern France and falls into the orbit of another story: The Song of Roland. Unfortunately for Tom, it’s a story that ends with a massacre…
There is no doubt that Mike Carey’s The Unwritten is as compelling as it is complex. Once in a while you catch an offbeat story that is about the impact of the literary world on the “real world” and perhaps the inter-mixing of the two (for instance last year’s Fantastic Four: True Story), but they are usually not anywhere as well-structured or as interesting as The Unwritten. Mike Carey lays out an overall plot that is as filled with as many details as a well-written documentary and as layered as Fringe. It is truly a great story in today’s comicscape of big events and passive cross-overs.
If you missed the train, imagine if J.K. Rowling had a son named Harry that looked just like and had a scar just like her famous fictional wizard. And in the middle of completing the last book in her series, she disappeared without a trace leaving the real life Harry as a pre-teen orphan. Hype up the fanbase about tenfold to the point where people are using her books as personal Bibles and to teach children about morality and now fast forward. Years later, it is found out that young Harry has no legit social security number or birth certificate – his life is a forgery and it seems he has no real identity. A now young adult Harry is seen either as a magical savior or a parent-killing fraud. He is then found in the middle of a massacre of modern authors and he can’t explain what has happened. Now take the story from Harry’s point of view and he is seeing visions that bare resemblance to book scenes, is able to “tap into” literary settings and he is being hunted by a unknown dark nemesis that historically has controlled what literature has been printed. If you could even partially follow my rambling, then you might have a brief glimpse into the phenomenal story that is The Unwritten.
Given the level of details that are present, the creative team has to use alternate routes to the traditional comic narrative to get them across. Pages of newspaper clipping, blogsites and text messages might at first turn off a reader, but it is well worth the effort to get every ounce of story out of it.
Issue Grade: A