Impressions of Mike Carey, Peter Gross and Chris Chuckry’s The Unwritten: Apocalypse #4

(Spoiler Alert: Back Cover Slightly Damaged To Rain, And I’m A Bit Bummed About It)

As last week I had skipped a visit to Matt’s in favor of the fantastic digital Image comics sale, I’m a little behind on looking at the most recent issue of The Unwritten: Apocalypse (TUA) that was released last week. I had not yet read the prior issue due to its absence last month from my pull list, so was surprised when one of the guys at Matt’s handed over a copy along with issue four, both of which continue to feature stylized character portraits by Yuko Shimizu of the issue’s central character.

Since I last read TUA a lot has happened to Tom and his gang with issue three featuring the last leg of their escape from London following Tom’s return to the ‘real’ world. Having to avoid death by a menagerie of literary armies including Nazis, Nazi zombies, orcs, dragons, and a surprising appearance from the villains of my one of favorite sci-fi books, Tom also encounters a group in service to a being called Pullman who appears to be our main baddie and has had previous encounters with Tom. It was only on meeting Pullman that I felt a bit lost in reading TUA.

Despite that I was still able to enjoy most of both issues as Mike Carey makes evident the relationship dynamics between all the characters, alluding to past tensions and setting up the current stakes while Peter Gross carries his fair share of the load in conveying the characters’ waning patience and exhaustion at the end of the world. A scene in issue four featuring Tom’s reunion with his dad Wilson is exemplary of Carey and Gross’ synchronicity with Carey’s dialogue showing each other’s dislike of the other while Gross positions father and son in mirror positions to show how similar both characters actually are whether or not they’re willing to admit it.

Issue four, the conclusion of ‘The War Stories’ arc, sees Tom visit a character called Grandmother along with his alter ego Tommy Taylor’s best friends, Peter and Sue in order to inquire about a means to destroy Pullman and restore Leviathan (something that I assume is connected to the basis of stories, but that may be off and I intend to read the whole thing some day, so decided not to Wiki it), which Pullman tricked Tommy into injuring, and is now slowly being tortured by Pullman. It’s on the journey to Grandmother that we get another memorable page of the trio traversing Escher-like tunnels with a ball of yarn in tow. Here, Carey overlaps the tunnels in a manner that incites a feeling of déjà vu as well as provides depth to the image, and a feeling of confusion.


Once returned from his visit, awakening with a souvenir, Tom now knows his final goal, but I’m sure we can count and Carey and Gross to complicate things along the way. If you can’t tell by now, I’m really enjoying this comic but think that I’d be so much more engrossed had I had a greater understanding of the story so far without spoiling it for myself, which is…impossible?? Also, sleep.

Added to Pull List this Week:
Jeff Lemire’s Justice League United


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