Friday, December 4, 2015

Unfollow #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

It’s Gonna Be Exactly Like Police Academy

Written By: Rob Williams
Art By: Mike Dowling, Quinton Winter, Clem Robins
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 2, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Remember how in the beginning of Police Academy, we see the future enrollees in their regular environments as citizens and learn of the events that drive them to take advantage of the new relaxed requirements of the academy? This is just like that. Except instead of the police academy, everyone is going to mulit-billionaire social media app developer Larry Ferrell’s private Caribbean island. And instead of attending due to a sense of social justice or at least due to a questionable court order, it’s because they’ve all been selected by Ferrell via a remotely-installed “140” app that endows them with a hundred and twenty million dollars and a free trip to his isle. And instead of a bunch of loveable misfits, so far we have seen some fairly problematic people that might spike the punch at this millennial soiree. Well, I want to see what’s going to happen, don’t you? I didn’t get the “140” app but I did pay four bucks to read the comic book, so come along for my review!

Explain It!

The day has finally arrived for recipients of Larry Ferrell’s digital Golden Ticket, the “140” app, to convene on his privately-owned island Visitors Bliss Cay, presumably so they can receive their portion of his wealth in the form of an oversized check and in front of reporters as part of a publicity stunt. Ferrell doesn’t expect everyone to come by Amtrak, though, no he’s dispatched a team of well-paid Men in Black to fetch each lucky winner by private jet and bring them to Visitors Bliss. And so we meet Japan’s most famous eccentric author Akira, novelist and provocateur with half of his face tattooed who cut his own legs off at the Imperial Palace in 2002. And still, he seems more stable than Mike Tyson. He lives in a lavish, remote cabin deep within a wooded island with his boyfriend who makes fun of and laughs at him. Two of Ferrell’s men show up to fetch Akira, who is standing around with his junk hanging out, and he says some cryptic stuff that seems to imply that he won’t be going with them, but could really be interpreted either way.

On a lonely tarmac in Alaska, two of Ferrell’s men stand by a waiting plane for Deacon Riggins, the guy we saw at the end of the last issue praying before a wall full of guns. He comes rolling in on his motorcycle singing the praises of the lord in that unnerving way that wilderness survivalists have, and shows his luggage to the escorts: a gigantic duffel bag with what I estimate to be approximately one metric fuck ton of guns. One of Ferrell’s men balks at this, but the other reminds him that they are to bring the winners with whatever luggage they bring, which could really lead to some funny prank opportunities if you think about it.

We reunite with our Wonder Twins David and Devon, where sis argues with bro about going to Visitors Bliss Cay and leaving her to fend for herself on the mean streets of Castle Point, St. Louis. Which I should probably mention look pretty rough. The three dopes they’d teamed up with last issue to rob David’s employer are standing around, heckling the two and threatening David for his “140” inheritance when he gets back from the island. David vacillates, even tries to force the escorts to bring his sister, but it’s to no avail: he must go alone or forfeit his spot. He is driven away in a limo and watches his sister recede in the back window, then also glimpses a leopard walking across a crosswalk because oh yeah, this is the kid who sees talking leopards and other hallucinations all the time.

Finally, we learn the fascinating and terribly human story of Ravan Salehi, photographer for the BBC stationed in Tehran, who has been documenting abuse against women and was about to kill herself last issue. Now, she and Ferrell’s escorts have been captured by Islamic militants who have no intention of allowing Ravan her all-expenses paid trip to paradise, because let’s face it Islamic militants are super jealous and can’t let anyone have fun. It looks hopeless until a guy in a golden lion mask busts in and kills everyone. I’m gonna guess it’s Ferrell’s BFF Rubenstein, who we met last issue, but since he’s in a mask I can’t say for sure.

This is really a great book. The art and colors are so good, I just want to eat it up with a fork and spoon. Mike Dowling can render any environment and Quinton Winter adds those color touches to make things lush or foreboding, as needed. And the way Dowling doesn’t always capture movement at its apex lends an almost photographic quality to the action. It’s just interesting enough to keep me hooked, which is perfect when, you know, writing serialized fiction. I want to meet more of these recipients of the “140” app and I want to see what’s happening on Visitors Bliss Cay. Most of all, I want to know where Akira got those prosthetic legs. I’m sick of walking on my own tibia like an idiot.

Bits and Pieces:

The intrigue deepens and the characters unfold and things move along nicely in this issue. We learn quite a bit about four characters chosen to receive the “140” app, guided splendidly by Mike Dowling and Quinton Winter's artwork. If you passed on this book because you thought it was like that stupid horror flick Unfriended that Eric was going on about earlier this year, then you were wrong and you should apologize. Go to your local comic shop and tell the retailer you’re sorry for doubting Rob Williams and proceed to buy up all stock of Unfollow numbers one and two immediately. The retailer will likely make you buy a few issues of Prez and Omega Men as penance, and frankly you should be lucky to get off that light.


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