Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

The Unwritten #36 comic review

By Dan Horn
April 17, 2012 - 11:03

It's been quite a while since we've reviewed an issue of Mike Carey and Peter Gross' The Unwritten here at the Bin, but that's most certainly not a comment on its quality. It's the opposite, actually. The Unwritten is a difficult story to review month after month; difficult to compartmentalize a single chapter of this epic for the purpose of scrutinization. The practice almost seems crass. However, The Unwritten's "inventory issues" offer us the opportunity to review something that is already nicely packaged for consumption, a one-chapter segue that conveniently represents the whole of The Unwritten experience. This week's The Unwritten #36 is that most recent opportunity.

Milton, the geriatric superhero The Tinker, has embarked on his predestined comic book quest for lost love in the realm of Hades. But the stairs Milton finds himself traversing will be instantly familiar to any reader of The Unwritten, and when that make-believe world evaporates beneath Milton's feet, he finds himself fleeing a metaphysical wave of undoing with a similarly familiar character: none other than the abjectly depraved and vengeful Mr. Bunn. Literature fans will be pleased by the abundance of literary allusions here, from Carroll to Baum, from Tolkien to Moorcock, acting as set piece homages, but casual readers will be hooked by this issue's unique scope and extraordinary premise.

Carey and Gross fold fantasy frolic and  real-world gravity into a weighty, but amusing, meta-narrative; a literary snake eating its own tail, deconstructing narrative even as it constructs its own. It's a dizzying effect, like standing at the brink of some graphical Grand Canyon, but it's a vantage from which we can discern certain critical skeins in storytelling and from which we may examine stock narrative as a whole. If The Unwritten were to lack any storytelling gumption, it would most definitely conciliate with its awe-inspiring perspective.

But, Carey, Gross, colorist Chuckry, and, in this particular issue, artist Rufus Dayglo never do manage to disappoint in terms of character minutiae, fabricating personages that we can't help but love or conversely revile, plot pacing, and visual engagement. And who can forget the breathtakingly gorgeous and concurrently profound Yuko Shimizu cover. The Unwritten, I hazard, is the perfect comic book series, and issue 36 is my evidence for that bold declaration.

Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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