Unwritten #8

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

So often, a new title starts with so much promise and then slowly drains it away. With The Unwritten, it’s refreshing to have a series where the first issue made me eager for more, and has continued to build on that momentum in great leaps and bounds. I’ve enjoyed how Mike Carey’s scripts not only are about the mysterious world of books and what lies beyond them, but about the effect these characters have on the real world as public opinion goes into an uproar over the real-life Tom Taylor’s actions. Here, though, The Unwritten takes a side trip into two children and how their obsession over the Tommy Taylor novels affects them. It’s a smart way to show off not only the moment of obsession, but just how powerful these books are to their readership. In another writer’s hands an interlude showing why Tom Taylor’s current nemesis (Governor Chadron, the head of the prison) hates Tom so much might have felt like it was cheating, giving such an aside to a minor character. With Carey, though, it actually feels like an integral part of the story, seeing just how Chadron’s two children are affected by the imprisonment of Taylor.

It’s also nice to see that even when given nothing fantastical to drawn, Peter Gross is able to deliver in spades. Sure, some scenes set in the prison play to what you’d expect from Gross’s art; lots of stonework and sharply constructed buildings, even amidst doom and gloom. I like the quieter moments that Gross draws here, though; Cosi at the therapist gives her a strange mix of resignation and faith about her, and watching Chadron interact with his children makes him feel that much more human as you see the conflict play out on his face. If you aren’t reading The Unwritten, the first collection is due out in early January 2010 and it’s well worth your while. Easily one of the best new series of 2009. Check it out.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com | Powell’s Books

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