Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Unwritten v2: The Inside Man TPB

What a brilliant, but sad, story. The second volume of Mike Carey and Peter Gross' fascinating story is just as brilliant as the first, which is surprising considering the main character is still a bit of a jerk. Tommy Taylor is a jerk, but he's in some awful circumstances. Framed for murder, he's quickly whisked away to a French prison to await trial. He's escorted by the "inside man," a reporter riding along to write a story on Taylor's predicament. Both of these characters are jerks, but they do drive the story and they have redeeming qualities, so I find myself rooting for them even as I cringe.

This trade deals even more with the ramifications of Tommy Taylor possibly being a real version of the Harry Potter-like character his father wrote about. I adored the two children of the prison warden, two fervent believers in the world of Tommy Taylor. The prison warden may have his faults, but he is fanatical in protecting his children's right to imagine, and he is supportive of their magical role-playing and adventures throughout the story. Unfortunately, this leads to some rather tragic circumstances made worse by what it does to the warden.

There are neat elements in the trade besides the one I mention about the children, but Gross does such an amazing job giving those kids a sense of bravery and heroism, I couldn't shake them from my thoughts. Since this is a prison story, there is a riot, and the shots of the kids in the riot are simply amazing. Maybe it's because I'm the parent of imaginative kids myself, but I just couldn't get past that element of the trade.

The twisting of Nazi propaganda is powerfully evil, and the cursing bunny exiled into the world of Beatrix Potter is fun, but I just can't forget about those kids. I hope there can still be some kind of happy ending. Tommy is magic, after all.


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