The Unwritten 20 (February 2011)

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I think Carey just had his first misstep. It might not work out as a misstep… but he ends this issue like it’s “Quantum Leap” or something. It’s a terrible, terrible cliffhanger. The rest of the issue is pretty strong too.

It opens with Tom and Lizzie, with Tom blathering on romantically and Lizzie sort of ignoring him. The scene doesn’t establish their new relationship, but it’s got a lot of charm. Gross has started drawing Tom a little differently lately; he’s a lot more mature.

Then Tom ends up in Moby-Dick, while Savoy and Lizzie go looking for him. And Savoy reveals his new status as a vampire, which leads to a very amusing scene with the pragmatic Lizzie. It’s all good and solid.

But then there’s Tom… stuck in Moby-Dick, which leads to the weak cliffhanger. I hope any further adventures in literature aren’t so rocky.

CREDITS

Leviathan, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Peter Gross and Vince Locke; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.

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The Unwritten 19 (January 2011)

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There’s a thread I thought Carey had resolved… the whole Savoy being a vampire being. Looks like I was wrong. I guess I just assumed Wilson Taylor knew stuff. That assumption is, apparently, quite wrong.

This issue—kicking off the Melville arc—introduces a new villain. Or a possible new villain; she’s a doll maker and she’s been around a while. There’s not much to her yet, but in her company, Pullman almost becomes likable. He’s just gotten to be familiar at this point. It turns hurt the last big villain turned out to be real annoying and Pullman didn’t like him, which makes the character somewhat sympathetic.

There’s not much about the story though—the big story. Instead, Carey’s spending time on the characters; he closes the issue with Lizzie and Tom making out. It’s a great scene and totally unexpected.

Carey’s successfully navigating the series through uncharted waters.

CREDITS

Leviathan, Part One; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Peter Gross and Vince Locke; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.

Xombi 0 (January 1994)

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What a goofy way to launch a series. This zero issue of Xombi—introducing the character—doesn’t just take place during a crossover, it also takes place eleven issues into the regular series run. Except the series hasn’t started its regular run yet. John Rozum explains it all in the letters page, but avoids mentioning how difficult it might be to understand.

But, given the constraints, he does a fine job introducing the character. He does the important stuff—establishing the superpowers, his identity—not much else. It’s actually a nice way of being dropped into a situation.

Besides a rocky start with the crossover mastermind, the issue’s good. Rozum has a lot of fun with the two guys trying to recruit Xombi. The bickering is a definite plus.

On the art, Denys Cowan and Jimmy Palmiotti do a nice job. Cowan’s frantic style makes it an atypical superhero book.

CREDITS

Theatre of Phantoms; writer, John Rozum; penciller, Denys Cowan; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Noelle C. Giddings; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Dwayne McDuffie; publisher, Milestone.

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