DC Comics
The Unwritten #26
By Dan Horn
June 11, 2011 - 15:12

Writer(s): Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Penciller(s): Peter Gross
Inker(s): Peter Gross
Colourist(s): Chris Chuckry
Letterer(s): Todd Klein
Cover Artist(s): Yuko Shimizu
$2.99 US

"Citizen Taylor" Part Two of Two:

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.

Rating: 9/10

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