By: Mike Carey & Peter Gross (creators), Chris Chuckry (colors) & Todd Klein (letters)

The Story: After learning more about the nature of Tom Taylor in the last story arc, we return to the main Unwritten story to kick off a new arc that seems to promise a more intense pace.

What’s good: The big thing that I enjoyed about this issue of The Unwritten is that the “present day” story began to move forward again.  After Tom Taylor, Lizzie and Savoy escaped from the prison in the middle of the last arc, they spent a few issues stuck inside a story.  Literally… They were in a story as characters.  Those were good issues, but they gave the feeling that the someone had hit a Pause button for the rest of the characters in this world.  Then we had the OUTSTANDING issue #12, but even though that issue was great and we did learn some more about the world of Unwritten, it didn’t do much to advance the overall story.

That is all fixed here.  Tom and gang are back in present day London.  Pullman (who is a great villain, btw) is back in action.  Count Ambrosio makes a big appearance towards the end of the issue.  Even Frankenstein shows up again (no flying cat though).  Things are definitely moving forward!

The art is also really nice to look at.  Some of the smaller panels are pretty simple.  They tell the story, but probably didn’t take a ton of time to draw.  But, any of the larger panels in the issue are just hyper detailed.  There is one scene where Pullman is in some sort of arms depot and Gross has just drawn all these detailed weapons in the background (such as a bag of ~20 grenades and they all have the little cross-hatched lines on them).  Nice stuff… And further evidence of artists knocking themselves out on creator-driven titles.

What’s Not So Good: I felt like this story was trying to do a few too many things at once and it ran out of room.  Some of the aspects of the story just didn’t feel like they got quite enough time.  I also wonder when I see an issue like this that gives just a dual credit such as “By Mike Carey and Peter Gross”.  As far as I know, Carey is only a writer.  Gross is mostly a penciller, but he has written a few things in the past.  But, they expressly are NOT credited as writer and artist.  I’m a natural born cynic, so I almost wonder if the assumed writer is more involved sometimes than others.  Carey is the regular writer on X-Men Legacy and maybe Carey was really busy when they came up with the plotting for this issue and Gross did more of it and (being the less experienced writer) tossed in a few too many moving parts.  We’ll never know, but it makes me wonder.

Other than this issue being a little too busy, I don’t have a lot of complaints.

Conclusion: A nice return to the main Unwritten storyline, even if it was a bit busy.

Grade: B-

– Dean Stell