The Unwritten #31 - 'Part One of Tommy Taylor and the War Of Words' - Carey, Gross and Perker
Story - The Unwritten has been one of my favourite books ever since the bumper-sized, under-priced debut issue wowed me with it's mix of literary nerdiness, gripping mysteries, great dialogue and fantastic art. That combination has impressed me throughout the subsequent 30 issues, as Carey and Gross build and build their story.
And with this issue, it looks like the building is somewhat done, and know things are starting to be knocked down, and plot-lines are coming to a head. This issue opens with Tom Taylor attacking Mister Skate of the evil cabal and finally utilising his magic powers to devastating effect. I admit that I was a little put off by this scene, it seemed like Tom had gotten way too powerful way too quickly. But lo and behold Carey realises this too, and by the end of the issue Tom's magic fucks up and he's left stranded in the Antarctic. That's the great thing about this book, when it does something you don't expect, there's always a reason for it, always a catch.
I also loved this issue for the feeling that the book's ensemble had finally gotten together. For me, every classic Vertigo book needs it's group, there's Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip, and Yorick, 355, Doctor Mann and Ampersand and of course Spider, Channon and Yelena. Now that Tom, Lizzie, Richie and Frankenstein's Monster are all together properly, it feels like we've finally got that 'us against the world' type deal that most Vertigo books need.
This book also featured another awesome 'internet' page, where Carey writes fake online articles about the world of the series, in this case excerpts from Tommy Taylor fansites, including a list of several magic spells from the books, and also finally a list of all the Tommy Taylor novel titles. I love this stuff, not only is it a fun parody of rabid Harry Potter fans (of which I was once upon a time) but it really adds to the series and makes it seem real, despite the mental shit that goes on. But it does raise the question of when Carey is finally going to write an actual Tommy Taylor novel.
This issue was the culmination of everything this book has been building up to and a great kick-off to what promises to be the biggest story yet. As someone who's been on board since the beginning, I loved it, but maybe new readers would be a teensy bit lost. But why are you a new reader? If you haven't been reading this, you deserve everything you get.
Art - Peter Gross is joined in this issue by MK Perker, who does a good job of finishing off Gross' pencils, you can tell there's something different than usual, but it still maintains the look of the series. There was one standout sequence art-wise in this issue, and it's the journey inside Skate's head, that was amazing.
Best Line - 'Hi, my name's Tom Taylor. And this is not going to be a good day for you'