Unwritten: Apocalypse #1
Story and Art by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Colors by Chris Chuckry
Review by Mike Duke
Listen, I’ve been a fan of Unwritten since the first issue, but somewhere along the way I fell behind. Even though the series ended around the close of 2013, I’m still almost a year behind on my reading. Which is why I wanted to review Unwritten: Apocalypse. Solicits from Vertigo claimed it is the ultimate jumping on point, and so I thought I would put that notion to the test. I am happy to say that I enjoyed the issue immensely, and while I think you have to be a certain type of person to enjoy a book like this, Apocalypse is definitely a great jumping on point.
We’ve all seen it before: a story begins in the primordial soup, stretching itself all the way back to the birth of our planet and then revving itself right back up to the present. The difference with Unwritten: Apocalypse is that this devolution\evolution takes place in the realm of stories. Tom Taylor is trying to find his way home. He begins in the fable The Ant and The Grasshopper, moves into the Ugly Duckling, spends some time at the Mad Hatter’s table in Alice in Wonderland, then graduates to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The final story I will leave as a surprise, but it was one of the most heart warming things I’ve read in a while. Along the way he consults various characters on how to get home. It’s a journey filled with lyrical prose, funny and surprising dialog, fascinating art, and heady insights into the nature of stories and the soul of humanity.
The art in this story evolves in the same way the story evolves. The grasshopper story is comprised of very rough sketches, the ugly ducking of monochrome crayon drawings like in an old storybook, the Mad Hatter interlude looks like the illustrations from the original Alice books, and Narnia is a bit more dimensional, taking on an animated look, though still mostly monochromatic. Only the final story is fully colored like a normal page of Unwritten. What Carey and Gross have created with the entire Unwritten series is a book about the nature of stories, language, and words that absolutely could not exist without the excellent images that accompany it.
Buy it. If you’ve ever tried to write a story, if you’ve ever wondered where they come from, or if you love reading them, check out Unwritten: Apocalypse. There is no need to read any of the previous series, but beware: once you read Apocalypse, you will want to read it all.