Friday, January 17, 2014
Unwritten by Mike Carey art by Peter Gross SF CAREY
Tommy Taylor is a worldwide phenomenon. The boy wizard that has repeatedly bested the evil Count Ambrosio is beloved by people of all ages across the globe, and even has a almost religious following among his most fanatical fans. Tom Taylor is just the son of the author and coasting on his celebrity as the 'inspiration' for Tommy. Then a woman tells him he has it all backwards. He IS Tommy and fiction is far realer than any of us know. Happy to write her off as a raving lunatic, Tom changes his tune when he becomes targeted by a secret society dedicated to controlling all human history and destiny by controlling the stories we tell. This starts an amazing adventure beyond truth, fiction, fantasy, or reality.
This series just keeps getting better and better! It starts as a mystery/thriller and the story keeps twisting and turning and adding all sorts of amazing new layers. The slower start really lets you get to know Tom and watch him grow and falter. It helps build the relationships between Tom and his two companions to something of real substance. What makes the series so great is that Tom isn't just a reluctant hero, he's not necessarily even a hero at all. He has been written to be a hero by his controlling, reality-altering father for ;the greater good', but he balks at heroism at every turn. The book's villains are definitely capital E evil, and raise the stakes remarkably well. However, Carey isn't afraid to upend everything and start anew with Volume 7. The book feels epic in scope and grandeur, without ever feeling forced or corny. It has a lot to stay about the power and source of stories and builds a fascinating and ever growing world of fiction that lies underneath our own. You will find yourself finishing one volume and jumping to the next immediately. You will also find yourself rereading several pages over and over, or even whole issues to relive a big moment. This book has serious complexity and depth and challenges the very notions of what is fiction and what is real. It does it all with a mix of action, adventure, romance, humor, and philosophy that is hard to match in comics today.
The art took a while for me to really appreciate. Peter Gross isn't the flashiest or most detailed artist, but he really does work for this project. He helps ground the book in a sense of reality, so when they interact with the world of fiction it feels momentous. That's hard to do in a comic book, where we are used to impossible things on every page. This is an absolute must read for fans of serious comics, and I think it will make a lot of fans of comics for anyone that gives it a shot.
SIDENOTE: We have volumes 1-7 and a sort of prequel called Tommy Taylor and the Ship that Sank Twice. I'd wait to read it until you've finished Volume 6. That was when it was published and it fits really well there.
You can find the first volume of Unwritten in our catalog here.