Comic Review: The Unwritten, Vol.1

6471550The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Published by Vertigo on January 12, 2010

Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Horror

Pages: 144 Format: Paperback Source: Library

2.5/5 Stars

Tom Taylor’s life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom’s real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity. In the final novel, it’s even implied that the fictional Tommy will crossover into the real world, giving delusional fans more excuses to harass Tom.

When an enormous scandal reveals that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a very mysterious, very deadly group that’s secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his own life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, eventually finding himself at locations all featured on a very special map — one kept by the deadly group that charts places throughout world history where fictions have impacted and tangibly shaped reality, those stories ranging from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture. And in the process of figuring out what it all means, Tom will find himself having to figure out a huge conspiracy mystery that spans the entirety of the history of fiction.

The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity is a story within a story. It follows Tom, the boy who inspired a book series his father, Wilson Taylor, wrote. Each issue explores the real Tom Taylor’s journey to discover who he truly is as well as the fictional boy wizard Tommy Taylor in his various adventures. Volume 1 collects issues 1-5.

I’ll start by saying that I really wanted to like this comic. The premise of the story pulled me in and had me excited. Even through the first and second issue I was intrigued and enjoying the tale. After that the plot felt as if it had gotten bogged down in a heavy swamp. It just seemed like way too much was going on at one time. I think the multiple story arcs didn’t connect well together overall and that the characters were hard to relate to.

I did like the focus on the written word. From the nods to authors and their writing locations to the importance of literature in the world, The Unwritten definitely promotes the element of story in all that we do. It is hard to escape. The art of the comic was also well done. Peter Gross does an excellent job of depicting each and every scene. I really liked the differentiation in the art from the fantasy world, the past, and the present. Each had its own look and feel.

Overall this comic kind of let me down. I wanted much more from it but a part of me still wants to see where it goes from here. I’m not sure I’ll pick up the next volume though.

Have you read The Unwritten, Vol. 1? Let me know your thoughts…

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