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

The Story: The promise of a new Tommy Taylor book is promising to bring both purported author Wilson Taylor and his quasi-fictional son, Tom, out of hiding.  The book appears to be total “poo” and isn’t written in Wilson’s normal style, but if he didn’t write it… Who did?  And we start to learn a lot more about Lizzie Hexam.

What’s Good: There are a lot of good elements to this story and I think the overall writing is really top-shelf on this title.  Watching the various editors of the new Tommy Taylor book have to grapple with the fact that the book is a piece of crap that clearly isn’t written by Wilson, yet understanding that they are about to make a PILE of money from the fans lined up days in advance was pretty fun.

I’m also very happy that we are learning more about Lizzie Hexam.  She has been one of the major characters since the first issue of this series, yet we really don’t know much about her.  We’ve had teases and it is obvious that she isn’t a normal person, but just what her abilities are, where she came from and whose side she is on have been a little unclear.  There are some pretty decent reveals in this issue that I don’t want to spoil too much, but I am mostly excited that the creators have a clear intent to explore her characters a little more.

But, the topper (for me) is that we get two more very cool insights into the methods of communications between the “real world” and the land-of-books (or whatever you call it).  One is a weird/cool method that Lizzie uses to communicate with Wilson that seems only a step removed from scattering chicken bones or reading entrails.  But, the other is this quasi-government bunker that the mysterious bad guys use to track this activity.  Very cool!

The art (as always) is good.  It is actually really good, but does so in a way where you don’t get sucked out of the story to stare at the art. You almost have to flip back through the issue and ignore the words to appreciate how good the art is.

What’s Not So Good: I feel like there are a few too many story elements whirling around here because I’m finding it a little hard to keep up month-to-month.  This is a comic that could really use a recap page and I’ll just say that DC’s refusal to do them is just asinine.

You’ll notice that up above I don’t say anything about Tom Taylor…..  Well, that’s because I really don’t love the direction they’ve taken his character.  This newer gruff-n-grim Tom who is sick of letting events happen to him and is going to take charge of his future…..ugh.  It is leading to way too many bits of dialog with either Lizzie or Savoy saying something like, “But Tom!!!!!  You can’t do that!  You’re walking into a trap!!!!”  It is kind of surprising that an otherwise really well written series has this little weakness.

Conclusion: It’s a little hard to keep up with the plot month-to-month (maybe this is better read in trades??), but this series treats the reader as if they have a brain and doesn’t spoon feed everything to you.  This is another strong issue of one of my favorite series.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell