By: Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (art), Al Davison (art), Chris Chuckry (colors) and Todd Klein (letters)
The Story: Paul Bruckner struggles to regain his humanity.
The Review (with SPOILERS): I initially found this to be a challenging issue of The Unwritten because I didn’t understand WHY we would devote an issues to a supporting character (Pauly Bruckner) when we are so close to the finish line of the series. I mean, Pauly is cute and all that, but the meat of the story is with Tom and Wilson.
But, as with most things in The Unwritten, if you pull on a thread, it starts to make a little more sense. Or in this case, start writing a review of the comic five times until you talk your way into understanding what is going on.
All along we’ve kinda held this notion that Wilson Taylor could either cast characters into stories (Pauly Bruckner banished to a child’s story) OR literary characters could be made real (Lizzie Hexam being pulled into our world). Or, at least that is how I thought of it. But that’s not at all what happened. Pauly Bruckner wasn’t sucked away into a strange dimension or anything like that. Wilson basically brainwashed him into thinking he was a rabbit in a children’s book. Pauly thinks he is a rabbit because Wilson told him he is a rabbit, ergo he is a rabbit. It’s basically the same thing that Wilson did later with his son, Tommy. Wilson told Tom that he was a wizard and Tom came to believe that he was a wizard, ergo he is a wizard. It’s just an issue of mind-over-matter.
But, how does this work with literary characters like Lizzie or Frankenstein’s monster or mingus the cat?
In those cases, you just need to adjust your perspective. There is no difference between the “real world” and a story. It’s all stories. If you are inside a story, it might seem like a “real” world….but it is really just a story. Wilson just found some way to allow the stories to cross-pollinate.
The reason why all of this is important is that Wilson clearly screwed up with Pauly. Whereas Tom is a force for good, it seems that Pauly is now in liege with Pullman (a.k.a. The Devil). So, we’ll get to have a nice little Good-vs-Evil showdown to finish the series. Pullman/Devil wants to destroy all reality so there are no more stories and people will stop talking about him; Wilson and his minions on the side of fighting to preserve what we have.
This issue does feature some guest art from Al Davison and it’s a nice change of pace for the series. It serves as a reminder that the sequences featuring Paul Rabbit are just mental illusions and not what passes for “reality” in The Unwritten anymore. However, to be honest, I’m so engrossed in the complexities of the story at this point to focus much on the art.
Conclusion: This issue made me work for it a little bit, but – as always – the answers were right there. This is a great, great series.