Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Unwritten - Apocalypse #1 Review

Written by: Mike Carey
Art by: Peter Gross
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 22, 2014

A Heart of Ink and Paper

I have to admit a couple things before I begin this review.  I haven't read the past run of The Unwritten.  In fact, I hadn't even heard of the comic until this issue.  The last bit of confession is the most embarrassing.  It took me three attempts to actually read this issue.  I take most of the blame there.  I was confused. Really confused.  Reading this as a "#1", I expected the story and characters to be spoon fed to me.  They weren't and my ADHD got the best of me and I kept putting it down.  It was only after the second issue was released and I read the stellar reviews for both that I went back and gave it my third attempt.  I'm glad I did and hopefully this review will get a couple of you to give it a shot as well.

The Unwritten is the story of Tom Taylor.  He is trying to get back home.  Home just hasn't been "written" yet.  Tom travels through stories and that's where this book begins.  Mike Carey gives us a story in a story in a story.  Yes, it's a bit confusing to grasp at first, but if you give it a chance (or three) you will be rewarded. Each story that Tom travels through gets him closer to home and each is unique yet familiar to those who love the written word.

They are also a pleasure to look at.  Peter Gross does such a good job here.  From the "Grasshopper and the Ant" to "Alice in Wonderland", each story has the style of the original.  The juxtaposition between the familiar and the different is what makes this book so good and Carey and Gross do it without shoving it down your throat.

In the end, Tom learns that home is what you make of it and the home he ends up with is in trouble.  I am really intrigued by this issue and I am planning on going back to read what came before.  That leads me to my only problem with this issue.  I'm sure that Vertigo/DC wanted the "#1" on it to get new readers. However, as one of those new readers I still feel a little lost in the woods.  As far as I can tell, Mike Carey has caught me up on the important points, but I can tell certain scenes were meant to carry more weight. Without prior knowledge, however, they didn't.  I know I'm partially to blame and I'm going to do my best to rectify that.

Bits and Pieces:

The Unwritten - Apocalypse #1 is a book unlike any I've read.  It's thought provoking, confusing, funny, mature and a delight to look at.  Mike Carey shows the reader the path without guiding them by the hand and Peter Gross makes the journey inspiring to look at.  New readers can start the journey, but I'm guessing veterans will get the most out of it.  Being one of the new, I'm still looking forward to taking the leap and learning more about Tom Taylor and the World he lives in.


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