Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Unwritten: Volume 3: Dead Man's Knock

by Mike Carey (story), Peter Gross (art), and Yuko Shimizu (covers), 152 pages

Lizzie struggles with her own identity issues and Savoy has an unlucky run-in with Tommy Taylor's immortal nemesis, the vampire Ambrosio, as the release date of missing Wilson Taylor's fabled fourteenth Tommy Taylor book draws near. At the center of a complex plot he doesn't understand, Tom believes the only way he'll find any answers is to track down his father and demand a full explanation. But he should know better than to assume he'd get anything like a straight answer from the man who may have written him into this chaotic mess in the first place.

Lizzie and Savoy appear to be the "real world" mirrors of Tommy Taylor's loyal friends Sue and Peter, who are themselves rather Ron and Hermione-like (on purpose), so I can only hope they fair better in the end than most of the unfortunate people caught up in this word-woven web. Poor Lizzie's messed -up background is laid out for the reader as a choose-your-own-adventure chapter. I've never had much patience for those, so I ignored the "go here," "go there" instructions and just read the pages in order, trying to link them together logically in my head, which seemed to work ok. I've grown rather attached to Savoy's comic relief, so Ambrosio and his possessed vessels had better keep their sharp pointy teeth well away from him. But as unpleasant as Wilson's intentionally Voldemort-like "fictional" vampire is, the shadowy cabal of wordsmiths and string-pullers trying to shape the world to their liking is far more frightening.

Tom and friends are off to Nantucket next to "catch a whale." Hee! Being a fan of Moby Dick, I'm looking forward to seeing how Carey ties it in with Tom's metaphysical quest for truth.

This is one series where the lovely dream-like cover illustrations balance out the cartoony Tommy Taylor segments and the main story's more traditional, old-school comic book look. The mix of art styles blends interestingly with the dark violence, reality-bending philosophical examinations of literature, and moments of levity (the latter being rare but, oh, so appreciated!).

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