GLX reviews The Unwritten #17.
Writer - Mike Carey
Layouts - Peter Gross
Finishes - Ryan Kelly
Colorists - Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee
Over the years, various creators have used "gimmicky" storytelling methods to attract readers, with varying success. When I first heard about The Unwritten #17, I was quite excited. After all, it's very rare to get a chance to read a "Choose Your Own Adventure" comic. I wasn't sure if The Unwritten crew could pull it off.
"Lizzie Hexam is a girl with a strange destiny - and it's up to you to choose it!"
With the exception of the first page, all of the panels go from the bottom of the page to the top. Each page contains two mini-pages, which aren't always meant to be read in chronological order. With sequential art, the flow of the story is determined by the reader; this issue takes that concept to another level. Based on in-comic cues, the reader chooses how the story evolves. It's a risky format to work around, but it works. The entire layout of the comic is a work of art and Peter Gross deserves every bit of praise he gets for his work here.
The Unwritten has always been a well-written title, but Mike Carey takes it up a notch. It's hard to tell a gripping and consistent story, especially a story as complex as this. Carey not only delivers the type of quality that readers of The Unwritten have come to expect, but he has also used the comic's unique story structure to its maximum potential. The comic has two endings, for better or for worse; but there are some alternative story branches. Some story branches will lead to the same scene, which leaves some parts of Lizzie's background a mystery.
I'm slightly familiar with Ryan Kelly's work, but I can say that his finishes over Gross' work is sharp. Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee are credited as the colorists and their work doesn't feel out of place. While there are times in which I can't match the color palette with the colorist, their work gels together nicely.
"She just chose the story that she needs right now. The story that keeps her standing. That's probably all any of us get to do."
The Unwritten #17 is an innovative and marvelous work. Everyone involved with this comic deserves a pat on the back. If you want a good example of what the medium can offer storytellers, this issue is solid choice. For $4, it packs in more content than most comics on the market. Do not be surprised if this issue wins an award or two, within the near future.
8.4* out of 10*
Written or Contributed by: GLX
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About the Author - GLX
For years, GLX has been writing on-and-off for The Outhousers covering comics, video games and comics - among other things. He currently resides in The South. Yes, that's capitalized, and, no, that doesn't mean it's a place full of sunshine and butterflies.
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