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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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doombug
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Postby doombug » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:05 pm

thefourthman wrote:No, but now I have something to do when I am bored later! :)


It's short but a good one. I've been doing a lot to get attention Tim's way as of late.

We were going to start doing a monthly commentary similar to Proof Positive but Tim's schedule got a bit hectic.

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Postby Punchy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:31 pm

thefourthman wrote:well, I'm not saying you are Punchy bad or anything. :-D


My reviews are good! I had a trouble this week though, not my best.

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Postby thefourthman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:37 pm

Punchy wrote:My reviews are good! I had a trouble this week though, not my best.

I wouldn't know, it takes less time to read the dead sea scrolls then one of your reviews. :lol:

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Postby Punchy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:42 pm

thefourthman wrote:I wouldn't know, it takes less time to read the dead sea scrolls then one of your reviews. :lol:


This week's was shorter than usual, too short!

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Postby McKegan » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:08 pm

Just got my BOC. Will try to post a review for this and Haunt by the evening.

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Postby Punchy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:24 pm

Just read the article, goddamn it HoJ and Old Man's reviews make me angry! So many irrelevant nitpicks! :twisted:

It's a wonder we have even agreed once.

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Postby Victorian Squid » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:25 pm

Punchy wrote:Just read the article, goddamn it HoJ and Old Man's reviews make me angry! So many irrelevant nitpicks! :twisted:

It's a wonder we have even agreed once.


:roll:

Some people write reviews, some people write shameless, desperate publicity blurbs and hope the publishers will like it.

I hate to tell you, there won't be a special Giant-Size Unwritten to add yours to the rest.

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Postby thefourthman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:48 pm

The Unwritten #6

Damn it. I wish Carey were a better writer. I really do. I truly enjoyed the first five issues of this story. It was engrossing, magical and different. Carey wove a tale that took literature, both real and imagined, and blended with his new world to create a world where anything can happen.

Issue 5 was a brilliant stand alone issue that detailed Kipling's involvement with the society behind the scenes in this book. Now with this issue we return to the world of Tom. He is on trail for the deaths that happened at the house last seen in issue four. Problem is, as brilliant as five was, it killed the momentum of the story.

There is a slight recap here to catch up the reader, but it feels like a chapter is missing. I am not quite following why Tom is being blamed for this. I guess that is part of what issue five was for, was to show us that you don't fuck with the society, they will make you regret it. However, either because part of the narrative is missing or because this allusive bit of analogy from the last issue is supposed to explain it, or even worse, I have forgot - which should be simple in the graphic narrative, simple cues would recall the action I am missing -, here we find a story removed from itself. Regardless of why it feels that way, it feels that way and Carey's little tricks with web feeds and a blog from an insider only do more damage.

To make it worse, he starts throwing in the pot with the kitchen sink. Now Hexam is being guided by random books she asks questions too, there is a father (I believe from the society) reading Tom's stories to his kid m(a development I find most perplexing), and then Frankenstein reappears as manifest from earlier in the book, and to be honest the bit in the dark ages is completely lost on me... regardless of its origin or allegory, if the reader does not understand it, it is a problem.

It is starting to feel as if the magic in the book has no rules and while a great writer could resolve this, my experience with Carey is that this will only get worse... the loose strings and throw everything at the wall to see what sticks attitude will only magnify itself. This is what made reading his X-men run such a chore. Hopefully I am wrong. Hopefully he will tie it up neatly and intelligently.

Gross is doing his top notch work here. There is a distinction between the various realities of the world that helps us know what is real and what is story (or what was past as in last issue)... the script messes with this as well though as the distinctive look of the man reading the Tommy books to his child appears to differ from the modern setting of the book making me wonder if it is merely a different realm of now or some other thing altogether.

I'm all for mysteries and up until this issue, Carey has played the balance well between revelation and new world expanding narrative. Here he stumbles for the first time with this book. I only hope it is a stumble and that all my fears will be put to rest in the next issue.

Story 4
Art 8
Overall 6

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Postby Old Man » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:51 pm

Punchy wrote:Just read the article, goddamn it HoJ and Old Man's reviews make me angry! So many irrelevant nitpicks! :twisted:

It's a wonder we have even agreed once.


Even a blind squirrel gets laid once in a while.
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I was perfectly content before I was born.
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Postby Punchy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:54 pm

The websites are there to fill us in, but not in an overly expository way, and it's fairly simple as to why Tom is being blamed for these murders, he was the only one left alive afterwards, and Pullman faked a phonecall in his voice. Plus that torture porn. If you read the book, it's all in there. I know there was a 2 month wait between this and #4, but use your memory!

And Magic in comics is pretty much never defined, it never has any rules, it's a reason cited by Joe Q and Bendis all the time as to why Doctor Strange is tough to write, and I've been reading Hellblazer for like 4 years now and still don't know what the limits of John Constantine's abilities are. That's the nature of magic, to give it rules defeats the essence of it.

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Postby Old Man » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:55 pm

thefourthman wrote:I slaved in the kitchen on my day off making her favorite meal from scratch... Cheese Tortellini's with alfredo sauce. A nice Caesar salad and some garlic bread.


Were you wearing that apron? Please tell me you were...I need my fantasies.
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Postby thefourthman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:58 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.

I was irritated by the first two pages as well, ftr.

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Postby Punchy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:59 pm

thefourthman wrote:I was irritated by the first two pages as well, ftr.


I didn't count those as the comic, so I didn't review them, the same way we don't review Letters pages or Marvel's recaps. Did they take away story pages?

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Postby thefourthman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:02 pm

Punchy wrote:The Unwritten #6 - 'Inside Man Part One' - Carey and Gross

Story - It's an interesting thing to review a book so soon again after reviewing it's debut issue. It gives us the oppurtunity assess the series as a whole, as well as just this chapter. Has the book lived up the the first issue? Or has it squandered it's potential? Thankfully, for The Unwritten, it's definitely the former, this, like #1 is a great comic.

The Unwritten has moved on from the initial concept of a Harry Potter analogue, to become a story about all literature, and our relationship to story, so it makes sense that when Tom Taylor goes to prison, it's a prison with literary connections, Donostia is built on the site of a battle which was immortalised in a Poem, 'The Song Of Roland', it's another piece of the enormous puzzle in this book, and it's certainly very tantalising. The issue opens with an excerpt from the Poem, amazingly adapted by Gross, these sequences, such as the Frankenstein one and 'How the Whale Became' have become real highlights, and show Gross' versatility. The Unwritten has quickly become the book to come to for mysteries, like Y: The Last Man was before, we are reading because their are secrets and truths hidden in amongst the plot, and this 6th issue does a lot to advance existing mysteries, and even adds some new ones, it's masterfully done. We want to know what's up with Tommy himself and his origins, but also society who employed Pullman, and who is pulling Hexam's strings, and now what the hell is up with the Tattoo? It's very tantalising stuff.

Carey also introduces a couple of new characters, such as Richard Savoy, Tom's cellmate, a hulking fellow prisoner and also a gruff Prison Warden, and they seem interesting, but who knows? In this book, they could be around for the whole run, or dead next issue, like those poor Horror writers, I think it is here that Peter Gross' art helps a lot, his clear cartooning makes all the characters distinctive and interesting.

The Unwritten has shown itself to be a book full to brim of ideas, and this issue contained one of my favorites, where Lizzy Hexam, a mysterious girl who may or not be Tom Taylor's 'Hermione' is getting instructions from whoever the hell it is she's working for, and the answers appear in random books she picks up a shelf, it was just a fantastic scene, and it also enhances the mystery and strength of story in this world. I must add that throughout the book there is a sense of humour, the Swiss judge palming off the case to France, the character of Savoy, The Unwritten doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's a good thing.

This issue also continues the use of epistolic material, Carey and Gross tell the story not just in panels and wordballons, but also full a whole spread of websites discussing the events, and it's really fun, Carey perfectly gets the voice of online help gurus, or internet trolls down pat (maybe he visited here for reference?) and it's an inventive idea more comics should try. This is even integrated with the regular comic structure, where much of the issue is narrated by a Blogger called 'Inside Man' (hey, that's the title of the arc! It's a double meaning, this guy, and Tom being inside prison, more subtle cleverness).

This was another fantastic chapter in the ongoing storyline, it kept things moving at a brisk pace, added more the the mystery pot, and introduced some potentially great new characters, and that last page shows that even the flashbacks and quotes in this book... they matter. This is 2 creators at the top of their game, telling an intelligent, but not pretentious great yarn, which has something to say about the world, It's just as good as #1. if not better.

Art - I've already brought up Gross in the main body of the review, so I'm at risk of repeating myself, but damn, he's awesome. I've mentioned the character designs, which are brimming with wit and fun, but I should also bring up how he adjusts his style for the opening flashback, it's subtle, but there's more lines, and the colouring by Chris Chuckry is more washed out, it looked like the Bayeux Tapestry in some ways. Superb.

Best Line - 'Whoops, Butter-Fingers'

9/10

This is a nice review Punchy. We don't agree, but your review is fine. The length is not daunting and you definitely put a lot of work into it.

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Postby Punchy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:04 pm

thefourthman wrote:This is a nice review Punchy. We don't agree, but your review is fine. The length is not daunting and you definitely put a lot of work into it.


Dammit, now I feel bad for criticising yours :oops:

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