Conway gives Bolt a first name (or, at least, uses it), which is nice. In fact, Conway gives Bolt a whole reflective moment here, a lot more than any writer has done before. Abby and Matt, however, are incredibly distant. It doesn’t much matter, because the ending of this issue suggests Swamp Thing is done with its supporting cast for a while.
There are a lot of plot threads this issue and it’s unfortunate they didn’t publish it as a deluxe issue as planned. It would have been somewhat more impressive. Conway’s not as concerned with the Swamp Thing parts of the story—the Alec Holland parts—as putting together the rest of his narrative. It makes for a better comic book, but not really a Swamp Thing one… It’s hard to explain.
Redondo does a great job.
The finish is a little weak though; Conway doesn’t have enough space.
The Mirror Monster; writer, David Michelinie; artist, Nestor Redondo; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Marcos; editors, Paul Levitz and Joe Orlando; publisher, DC Comics.
You’ve got to love a comic book with an apology in leu of a cliffhanger. This issue of Swamp Thing—Gerry Conway’s first—was supposed to be double-sized. Instead, they split it in two… and this one ends uneventfully. Stops might be the better term.
Still, it’s a decent issue. Conway’s execution is stronger than the comic has had in a while and Redondo comes up with some great layouts.
There’s a rogue Swamp Thing—grown from the original’s arm (which almost foreshadows the character’s future under Moore)—and a possibly evil Indian befriends it. There’s a cute little Bride of Frankenstein feel to it.
But Abby, Matt and Bolt are around too. Abby’s clairvoyance is mutedly implied again, but it’s getting old, regardless of Conway being better at the narration than his predecessor on the book. Bolt’s still a lame character… Conway can’t magic all the problems away.
A Second Time to Die; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Nestor Redondo; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Marcos; editors, Paul Levitz and Joe Orlando; publisher, DC Comics.
So is Wilson’s editor in with Wilson or in with the bad guys? The issue has a soft cliffhanger for Lizzie—who somehow got to go home, but lost it too (I wonder if Carey’s seen Somewhere in Time because he really pulls a penny out of the pocket in terms of an easy fix)—but nothing regarding Tommy and Savoy and the book itself.
This issue of Unwritten made me realize Carey’s plans are finite. The series is not intended to go on forever, which is probably better—not just in realistic publishing terms, but also so Carey doesn’t get to a point where he’s dragging it out. But it’s a little depressing to realize.
The issue’s difficult to discuss without spoiling… suffice it to say, Carey keeps the surprises coming.
Savoy does get the short end once again.
It’s impossible to anticipate where Carey will go from here.
Dead Man’s Knock – Conversations; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Peter Gross; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.
Wilson Taylor makes his first appearance in Unwritten’s present action this issue; it’s Carey’s biggest surprise so far. Not because his appearance is so extraordinary, but just the opposite. He shows up like he’s been in the cast the entire time.
While the Pullman subplot develops, the issue brings Tom back to his literary geographer status. He and Savoy spend the issue on a slight quest to meet up with Wilson—I never expected the old boy to actually show up at the end of it, though.
Meanwhile, Carey has Lizzie still back home, though she does bring some of her new life back with her. She’s learned a lot among them English.
Carey’s set up Lizzie as a strong character, who can survive on her own in the book. Savoy, he hasn’t. He needs to be a sidekick.
Just an observation, not a judgment. Lizzie’s more pleasant anyway.
Dead Man’s Knock – Bloodletting; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Peter Gross; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.