Waiting For The Trade – The Unwritten: Inside Man

Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Peter Gross, Jimmy Broxton, Kurt Huggins, Zelda Devon
Colourists: Chris Chuckry, Jeanne McGee, Kurt Huggins, Zelda Devon
Letterer: Todd Klein

Collects: The Unwritten #6-12

I wasn’t a big fan of the first volume of The Unwritten. Whilst I found the premise interesting I struggled with the characters and was absolutely livid at the 5th issue which followed a significant cliff-hanger and didn’t play a part in resolving that story…I didn’t feel Carey had earned his diversion after only 4 issues.

This volume was much more to my liking. The character of Tom Taylor gets a bit of backbone and starts to actively try to address the circumstances he finds himself in, including a great response to the enigmatic bull$#!+ that Lizzie Hexam is putting him through. I loved this part, while it didn’t end the mystery it felt so much more realistic, it’s a personal bugbear of mine when characters in stories such as Lost allow themselves to be led by the nose never once saying “bollocks to this, tell me it all or piss off”.

There’s also more revealed about the mechanics of the world that Carey’s established which I welcomed and when in the final issue we once again go off on a sideline it feels like it has purpose and a meaning to the overall story, Carey’s earned it at this point. This is really turning into a story that I could find myself invested in and I’ll be going back to volume 1 and re-reading it in light of this volume to see if it sits better with me.

The more interesting elements of the story come in towards the latter half of the book, but when they did come in I was completely engaged and found myself disappointed when the last page came.

It’s not perfect though, the pedant in me doesn’t believe that you’d find a French prison with so many people who not only speak English but do so to one-another, but I can accept this conceit although I think the language barrier would have helped underline the isolation of the English-speaking character even though he has pretty good French. The other thing which was a let down was that an arc that ends fairly tragically didn’t have any sort of emotional resonance for me, possibly because of the flexible laws of Carey’s universe I just didn’t find myself upset at something I should have been.

The art and lettering in one historical chapter is stunning, nods to Klein and Broxton for what they’ve added to Gross’s work on this piece and the final chapter is gorgeous, the contrast between captions, artwork and dialogue is brilliant.

Rating:

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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