The premise of The Unwritten is simple–what if a Harry Potter-like character turned out to be real–but the way Carey weaves the story, the intricacies, the endless setups, makes The Unwritten so much more than its concept, it’s hard to remember the premise was ever simple.
Carey introduces maybe nine things this issue–protagonist Tom Taylor’s agent being in on the secret, Tom’s disappeared father forcing him to remember a literary geography, it goes on and on. Maybe nine is being conservative. I’m not sure there’s a single thing introduced this issue Carey isn’t going to follow up on. It’s incredibly dense, but so pleasurable, it doesn’t even seem like a hard read.
Gross’s artwork is also key. He gives the story a light feel, sort of an affable tone, then introduces these horrific scenes (the Nosferatu-influenced villain). That affability fits the protagonist perfectly.
Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, Chapter One; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Peter Gross; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.