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Review Group Week 192 - THE UNWRITTEN #6

Discuss the latest comic book news and front page articles, read or post your own reviews of comics, and talk about anything comic book related. Threads from the two subforums below will also show up here. News Stand topics can also be read and posted in from The Asylum.

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Old Man
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Postby Old Man » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:36 pm

I really don't know how to score this book. I haven't been reading the book. From reading general comments, most people who read it love it, but I can't see why. One guy at the LCS today said he thinks the Harry Potter crowd would love this book, but I think it is something they would quickly lose interest in. It is too patchwork.

The background of the story is that the young magician Tommy has had a series of books written about him. Tom, who claims he is not Tommy, has moments of memory which appear to show the reader that Tom is indeed Tommy. Tom has run into a bit of trouble, and is sent to prison pending trial.

The first page and a half of this book is reviews telling the reader how good this book is. No, thanks, I don't like cum shots facials. Put this at the back of the book. Quit trying so hard to make me think I am about to have the greatest reading experience of all time...you are creating high expectations that can't possibly be met.

At first glance, the second half of page two looks like it will be a re-cap. If it was re-cap, I didn't get it. Then there are about three pages of the Crusades. Then regular art starts. There are pages that are drawn/constructed to look like web sites and message boards. In some word balloons, names are underlined to look like links, which is really dumb because there is no way to follow a link in a printed book. I think this book is trying to be kewl. And I also cynically think this is why so many people are claiming to love this book -- 'Hey, Look! A comic book that looks like it is online!" In one scene, the prison warden is reading the adventures of Tommy to his kids. It is reminiscent of the scenes in Watchmen where the prison psychologist is in his home, scenes that were deemed unnecessary in the movie.

The art is rather bland. Uninteresting, even. The only pages that I found interesting enough were the pages with the witch and the last 2 pages. The parts of the story that were set in the Crusades, the stories of Tommy, were drawn better than the everyday scenes. The everyday scenes were dull.

In a scene set at the end of the book, Tom walks out of his prison cell during the night. Just walks out like the door wasn't locked. The cells are your basic Mayberry type cells. As drawn, there is a simple lock on the door, not the modern electronic locks that prisons have today. It's a convenient detail to leave out so that it doesn't get in the way of the overall story. If reality gets in the way, toss it out.

As I said at the top, I don't know how to rate this comic. I found it dull, maybe even pretentious. The art was uninspiring. But the book wasn't horrid, either. A 7 might indicate that I might like to read the next issue, so 7 is too high. A 3 or a 4 would indicate that I think it is a waste of time. So, I'm stuck with a 5 or a 6. I give it a 6, because that is how many goals the Buffalo Sabres laid on my Detroit Red Wings last night.
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Postby Old Man » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:50 pm

House of J wrote:The Unwritten may be a great comic. A lot of people seem to think so. In fact, opening this issue there's a whole page of them. Imagine my surprise when on the next page there are another half a dozen, including the old site which grinds out publicity handjobs with abandon. All that's missing is a quote by GLX, which will probably make a debut next issue, and by then I expect at least three pages of glad-handing. There is so much wasted space on these pages, I couldn't help but wonder why they couldn't just combine them into one publicity page and maybe put it somewhere else. Looking at the first two pages alone, my design-head is already shaking.

Then there's a fake internet report that gives away some of what's been going prior to now, but from the perspective of someone who admittedly doesn't really know any of the facts. Speaking of just the facts, ma'am, under the headline it says this was posted on 10/21/09 @12 AM but at the end it says it was posted on 10/14/09 @12 AM. Can anyone reading this book monthly tell me if that is alluding to anything at all, or simply a dumb mistake? Because the two conflicting dates are like 6 inches from each other--from the perspective of someone who used to look for stuff like this for a living, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

In addition to the report, there are tons of other expository devices used here--almost too many, from the Inside Man Reports (which oddly switch to a narrator's voice in caption boxes that does seem semi-omniscient--WTF?!) to faux-Facebook, internet searches, poetry, newspaper stories--all of it gives a sort of general idea that a bunch of folks were brutally murdered and Tom is under arrest suspected of the crime. But honestly? I'd have traded all the cramped tiny text for one decent recap page at the beginning that clearly laid out the events of 1-5.

5


Having written my review, I now start to read the other reviews, and I see that you and I are pretty much in agreement about the above.
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Victorian Squid
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Postby Victorian Squid » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:57 pm

Old Man wrote:Having written my review, I now start to read the other reviews, and I see that you and I are pretty much in agreement about the above.


:lol: Just a bit!

I want to still hold out the possibility that if you've followed it monthly this book is a fairly uninteresting transition issue in an otherwise brilliant run, but this issue alone gives me little hope that that's the case.

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Postby Old Man » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:25 pm

I'm a cynical Old Man, working on being a curmudgeon. My opinions on comics often go against the flow. Sometimes my BS meter works much faster than the people around me. In one particular case, I dropped the Bruce Jones Hulk run after 2 or 3 issues, while a few friends kept telling me how great it was. When Jones finished, I heard a couple of them talking about how disappointed they were with how the series had gone. In another case, after Civil War #4, I somehow knew that it didn't have an end, that it would just stop. A buddy had a moment of clarity after issue #5. He said, "If they kill Captain America, I'll quit reading comics." He did, even Deadpool, which he used to read before leaving the LCS. He would often howl with laughter while reading it. He quit reading comics, cold turkey. Hasn't come back.

Which is not to say that I am always right, nor that The Unwritten is bad or going to fail. I gave up on Astro City after a couple issues. I got back on that bandwagon several years ago, and now look forward to every issue.

**********

I also note that someone said they got their box of comics and didn't seem to find them interesting, so he might be dropping a bunch of books. I go through spells where I am not that interested in the comics I buy. Last week was one of those times. I bought 12 or 13 comics last week, and only read 4; not even Planetary. There have been times where I didn't read a comics for 3 or 4 weeks. Yet I keep buying them, and usually get all caught up in a couple weeks.
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Postby doombug » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:00 pm

Punchy wrote:Is Sugarshock that godawful Joss Whedon webcomic that nevertheless had awesome art by Fabio Moon?


Sugarshock won an eisner....so definitely not godawful.


....idiot. :wink:

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Postby ****** » Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:24 am

So The Unwritten #6 has something of a difficult task this week. I read the first issue and enjoyed it enough that I've pre-ordered the first trade, but it's early enough that I could still remove it from my order if this issue turned me off the series. There's also that problem I have with Mike Carey's work where I oftentimes find it to be boring and impenetrable and having not read the last 4 issues of this I'm coming into the story in the middle as it is.

I have to say, after reading this issue it is kind of impenetrable. I think stuff like the internet page can work if it's done right, but the way they used it in this was really overbearing. They could have ditched the Dear Abby thing completely and laid out the bottom left piece in a way that didn't have me reading so much worthless filler before I got to the Tommy Taylor blurb. I was really expecting to hate the comic at that point, but somewhere along the way I found myself enjoying the issue. I really dig the character of Harry... errr... Tom Taylor and the whole idea behind Unwritten is still really intriguing and that alone kept me interested.

The art has a really clean, smart look to it. I really like Peter Gross' work in this a lot . The colors were solid and Todd Klein rocked the lettering as always.

I'm still in for the first trade. This issue was mostly setup and yet somehow kept it vague enough for me to want to read the first volume to find out what actually happened but at the same time it gave me enough information to be able to read the series going forward.

Story: 7
Art: 8
Overall: 7.5

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Postby Punchy » Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:52 am

doombug wrote:Sugarshock won an eisner....so definitely not godawful.


....idiot. :wink:


It was the worst kind of Whedon, 'witty' dialogue and crazy stuff with no substance, it was trite and not funny at all.

It only won an Eisner because Whedon wrote it, anyone else, pfft, it wouldn't even have registered.

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Postby MrBlack » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:14 am

I'm in agreement with HoJ. I'm not sure how to review this comic. It might be good, but I'm so out of touch with the events in the book since issue #1 that I don't have a clue if it is or not.

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Postby ****** » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:08 am

Punchy wrote:It was the worst kind of Whedon, 'witty' dialogue and crazy stuff with no substance, it was trite and not funny at all.

It only won an Eisner because Whedon wrote it, anyone else, pfft, it wouldn't even have registered.


I'm going to read it just so I can come back and disagree with you.

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Postby thefourthman » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:50 am

starlord wrote:I probably will when it comes out. I just hate reading the middle of stories when I'm buying the trades.

But I will. I don't want to be accused of being a "Punchy".

I don't know, I think trade waiting is a valid excuse... I would have hated if the trade waiters had read Y 60 when we did it. If someone picked Hellboy or Powers, I would most definitely sit out.
Pull list: Afterlife with Archie, Bodies, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Coffin Hill, Dead Boy Detectives, The Fade Out, The Goon, Harley Quinn, Hinterkind, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon,The Maxx Maximized, Miracleman, Ms. Marvel, Multiversity, Rasputin, Rocket Raccoon, Sandman: Overture, Silver Surfer, The Walking Dead, Wonder Woman

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Postby Victorian Squid » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:56 am

MrBlack wrote:I'm in agreement with HoJ. I'm not sure how to review this comic. It might be good, but I'm so out of touch with the events in the book since issue #1 that I don't have a clue if it is or not.


In the end I figured what the hell and just wrote a review based on my reactions to it almost page-by-page. I couldn't settle the matter of whether the book should have been more accessible or whether it was just "bad timing" to review this issue. Part of me can't help but think a writer, especially when delineating story arcs for trades, should recognize a natural point for new readers to be able to jump into the story. This weren't it.

(And I think a real recap page instead of useless publicity blurbs or all that coy internet stuff would've done it.)

For the record, I don't like movies that use those sorts of devices, or spend too much time on computer screens either.

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Postby thefourthman » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:00 am

I have read the book faithfully, I will be only doing this one here for sure, I will get around to it in the next couple of days. I will also make an attempt to post my missing three this weekend...
Pull list: Afterlife with Archie, Bodies, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Coffin Hill, Dead Boy Detectives, The Fade Out, The Goon, Harley Quinn, Hinterkind, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon,The Maxx Maximized, Miracleman, Ms. Marvel, Multiversity, Rasputin, Rocket Raccoon, Sandman: Overture, Silver Surfer, The Walking Dead, Wonder Woman

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Postby Victorian Squid » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:02 am

thefourthman wrote:I don't know, I think trade waiting is a valid excuse... I would have hated if the trade waiters had read Y 60 when we did it. If someone picked Hellboy or Powers, I would most definitely sit out.


I thought about skipping this week, but I figured if all the people possibly considering the first trade did that, only one or two people would be left to review.

I blame DC for this travesty.

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Postby ****** » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:23 am

thefourthman wrote:I don't know, I think trade waiting is a valid excuse... I would have hated if the trade waiters had read Y 60 when we did it. If someone picked Hellboy or Powers, I would most definitely sit out.


My next pick currently coincides with the Powers relaunch. :twisted:

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Postby MrBlack » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:36 am

House of J wrote:In the end I figured what the hell and just wrote a review based on my reactions to it almost page-by-page. I couldn't settle the matter of whether the book should have been more accessible or whether it was just "bad timing" to review this issue. Part of me can't help but think a writer, especially when delineating story arcs for trades, should recognize a natural point for new readers to be able to jump into the story. This weren't it.

(And I think a real recap page instead of useless publicity blurbs or all that coy internet stuff would've done it.)

For the record, I don't like movies that use those sorts of devices, or spend too much time on computer screens either.

That's a good point. With the first trade on its way containing the first five issues, this would seem to be a natural jumping on point for new readers. It isn't.

I don't want to unfairly slam the book, but there really wasn't a lot to draw a new reader in with, even one who had read the first issue. It seems like an interesting story, but there was nothing for me to glom on to in this issue.

Maybe I'll just slam GLX for a bad pick. :wink:

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