Recently liberated from the belly of the literary whale, Tom joins
Lizzie and Savoy on a mission to pilfer Wilson Taylor's personal effects
from a private auction. They've missed one catch, though: Lot 100 is
Tommy Taylor. What am I bid for the boy wizard, the new messiah?
After "Leviathan" The Unwritten has deployed some tongue-in-cheek pretty
effectively. The series has always dipped its feet in the abstract, but
with Leviathan's reveal Tom and company have plunged headlong into the
abyssal waters of metaphysics, a developmental pill that a little comedy
and baroque adventure make much easier to swallow.
This two-part tale, which I think of as "Tommy Taylor and the Dastardly
Auctioneer," however instrumental in progressing the plot, seems like a
light diversion, an entertaining segue to let past events sink in and
take hold, reestablishing the mystery of Tommy's origins, of the cabal,
of Rausch the puppeteer, and perhaps of Mr. Bun. The auction block is
one of those classic thriller settings and a stroke of genius to evoke
here as the arena for this game of wills. This issue particularly
signals a certain change of pace, a confluence of seeded tropes and
archetypes where wizard and vampire are at last harnessing and utilizing
their powers to advance their agenda.
Oddly, I felt that it was in this chapter of The Unwritten that Carey
and Gross have finally secured the Tom Taylor portion of their surreal
epic as a truly modern fairytale, ensconcing the wonder, the satire, and
the contemporary scope of fantastical genres that until now seemed
prosaic. I mean, come on, "Drop that--...--that magic wand, and step
away from it. Now!" and a boy wizard's DNA test up for the highest bid?
This is brilliant stuff.
Peter Gross's artwork is continuously understated, subtle, shrewd in its
delivery. Gross has cut his teeth on some really strange fantasy
stories, making his attenuated approach here pretty fascinating and
refreshing. Yuko Shimizu provides yet another superb cover image that captures the conflict at the heart of the story.