Vince Locke

The Unwritten 33.5 (March 2012)

853276This issue’s exceedingly good. These .5 issues really do give Carey the ability to show off his talent; even though they relate to the main series, they don’t rely upon it fully. This issue’s about a soldier stationed at a great estate in the eighteenth century.

The story eventually ties into the regular Unwritten world, but for a while it’s just straight historical fiction. Carey shows the soldiers’ lives, he establishes their personalities, and then he lets his protagonist loose. And the protagonist gets himself into trouble.

The resolution to the issue, which features the big tie-in, is great. Peter Gross is really hesitant when it comes to visualizing the fantastic in this issue. It doesn’t have a place in the story, not how Carey’s telling it; Gross’s visualizations match the mundaneness. There’s never any glamour to it.

Carey, Gross and Vince Locke turn in a particularly great issue.

CREDITS

From The Lives of the Marionettes; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and Vince Locke; inker, Locke; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

The Unwritten 30 (December 2011)

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Carey’s resolution is unexpected. It’s sort of celebratory and life affirming (and shows he and Gross could easily spin-off titles from Unwritten) but it also has the series’s first big fight scene in a while.

And it’s a comic book fight scene.

While all the detours into literature (Dickens, Moby-Dick), one doesn’t often think of Unwritten as being cousin to capes and tights comics. Carey apparently felt the need to remind everyone this issue and it’s cool to see a reluctant wizard battle a Golden Age hero.

It’s Marvel-style, of course, so the two heroes team up afterwards. Except it’s not to fight a villain, it’s to have a really touching scene together.

The Creature shows up again this issue as a deus ex machina but he also gets to meet Lizzie and Savoy. There’s even the implication he might hang out a bit.

An excellent issue.

The Unwritten 29 (November 2011)

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Carey sort of sidesteps the maximum tragedy to keep the narrative more interesting. It requires him to bring in a new character and pretend he’s been there for an issue… it’s an unfortunate oversight in an issue already riddled with problems.

It’s still a good issue, of course. But the scenes are unbelievably repetitive. Tom’s dad and his girlfriend have the same conversation two or three times. Wilson’s big solution to the problem shows he doesn’t plan ahead well enough. Carey also loses all sense of time. The flashbacks might take place over a month or three days.

Carey is able to finish up with a great cliffhanger, but it feels predetermined. He has to contain and direct the story this issue, which cuts down on its energy.

Like I said, still a good issue. Gross and Locke’s flashback material continues to be good and Carey’s gently working the subplots.

The Unwritten 28 (October 2011)

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Not a happy issue. Not one bit. Carey is forecasting an inevitable, devastating turn of events in his flashbacks. He’s really turning the screws too, as Tom’s dad meets a woman and, in an extreme Romeo and Juliet fashion, is going to have to kill her.

Besides the bad guys killing all the people Tom knows, which is often done without any personal touches to the scenes, it’s all this romance (set in the Depression). The art, from Gross and Locke, is fantastic. It exudes tragedy, keeping the inevitable event in the forefront of the reading experience.

There’s also some stuff with Savoy getting sick of Tom’s planning (Lizzie plays mediator). It too will come to a head, but it’s almost as though Carey’s distracting from it with the more potent flashback material.

It’s an excellent issue and Carey’s successful enough with the characters I’m dreading reading the next one.

The Unwritten 27 (September 2011)

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Carey packs this issue. Maybe not with content–there’s a lot of conversation, then some extraneous stuff in a flashback (Vince Locke nicely inks Gross for those pages)–but with atmosphere. This kind of issue endears a series to the reader and Carey’s able to do it without forcing.

The issue also opens with a muted “Wire” reference, so it’s impossible not to love it.

For the majority of the issue, things are quiet. Carey’s resolution to the previous issue’s cliffhanger is to focus on a different event (smaller to the character, bigger to the world) and its repercussions. The actual cliffhanger gets a quiet resolution a little later.

This issue’s cliffhanger, however, is somewhat distant from Tommy and the gang. It will, undoubtedly, have big repercussions later, but for now it’s incredibly soft.

Carey and Gross’s deliberate pacing makes The Unwritten a special read. It’s always assured and deliberate.

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