Mike Carey and Peter Gross continue to push the boundaries of what graphic storytelling can do, in "The Unwritten: Inside Man," the second trade-paperback collection of their rightly acclaimed Vertigo comic series.
When we last left Tom Taylor "? the real-life inspiration for his father's "Harry Potter"-esque series of fantasy novels "? he was thrown in prison for murders he didn't commit. (Yes, murders, plural.) This arc finds him tapping his newfound magical powers to escape, with the help of his bunkmate, Richard, actually a journalist on assignment to tag his every move.
What I love about "The Unwritten" is that events don't wrap up in shiny bows. In fact, they often have tragic consequences that other media "? I'm looking at you, blockbuster movies and prime-time television "? dare not attempt. Without giving away details, the prison break features one such stunner.
The chapters started losing me as Tom and Richard move on to the next phase "? or is that dimension? "? of their journey, one which involves Nazis, and specifically, the infamous Josef Goebbels. To the author's credit, however, the density of the plot demands your deep attention, and then rewards you tenfold for ceding it.
"Inside Man" concludes with a one-off tale not involving Tom, but rather anthropomorphic animals, and R-rated ones at that. This takes Carey and Gross' work firmly into "Fables" territory, which, as readers know, is never a bad thing. "?Rod Lott