Book: The Unwritten- Volume One
Author: Mike Carey
Art: Peter Gross
Colors: Chris Chuckery & Jeanne McGee
Letters: Todd Klein
Covers: Yuko Shimizu
What if everything around you
Isn’t quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know
Is an elaborate dream?
You know who you are, right? You can see yourself in the mirror. You feel pain and pleasure. Oh sure, memories are a little vague from before you were seven or eight, but everyone has that problem, right? You had a mother and father, with a birth certificate. Moreover, you have a name.
But are you sure? Mothers and fathers can be strangers, documents can be forged and a name is just a made-up gift, a fiction. Here is the thing, you can’t be absolutely positive, can you? Maybe it is all just a story, but…is it your story?
If anyone knows the power of stories it is Mike Carey, who gave us over six years of universe creation starring Lucifer the Lightbringer. A main theme Carey brings to Lightbringer, Hellblazer, Sandman, Faker and now The Unwritten, is the embryonic genesis of stories.
Words and stories have power. The Japanese believed in Kotodama, translated as the ‘spirit of language’ where words have power to alter the world. Robert Heinlein wrote about alternate realities created from the minds of fiction writers. Jorges Borges wrote a story in which a secret organization of men wrote about a fictional world, that slowly started to overtake the “real” world. Carey had Lucifer create an entire universe from a “letter” from God. These tropes of metafiction and magical realism enhance the mystery of the story and make for an exciting read.
Tom Taylor is the son of writer Wilson Taylor, but more importantly, he is the basis for Tommy Taylor, Wilson’s magic-wielding fictional protagonist. Tom is dealing with some daddy issues, after his father not just abandoned him, but completely disappeared. Dad did leave behind an legion of crazed fans who are willing to help Tom pay the bills with signings and appearances. Things are fine until a Birther conspiracy rears its head, questioning Tom’s legitimacy. Then Lizzie Hexam starts to poke and prod, pushing Tom towards a truth he doesn’t want to know, and soon he too starts to question his origins.
Reading The Unwritten was like going back to that comfortable place where you can relax, where the rest of the world is taken over by the story. I attribute this mostly to Peter Gross’s art. After reading Books of Magic and Lucifer for so many years, Gross’s art and colors are familiar and perfectly suited towards the tale being told. Gross is able to blend reality and fantasy without making us question its realism.
These first five issues set the background for a fantastic story and demands that you join Tom Taylor on his journey to discover the rest of his unwritten story.
*The rest of this series if already up to issue #10, go get them now