Mike Carey/Peter Gross/M. K. Perker and others
When Tom Taylor's father Wilson created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series - the boy wizard series that gained immediate and widespread fame - fans relentlessly compared the real Tom to his counterpart, garnering him a type of notoriety he just didn't want.
But when it's revealed that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, he comes into contact with a mysterious cabal that has secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his own life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom and his companions must travel the world, hitting up locations featured on a special map - one kept by the deadly group - that charts places throughout the world where fiction has impacted reality, stories ranging from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture yarns. Throughout this quest, Tom must use every weapon he can get hold of - but even storybook magic carries its own risks...
And in the alternating chapters, Tom's crusade plays out against the secret history of the cabal, as told in Wilson Taylor's vivid diary entries. When it's all over, very little will remain “Unwritten”. (from the blurb)
I liked this, the sixth instalment in the series “The Unwritten”, quite a bit.
Tom and his companions continue to be proactive, taking the fight to the enemy that they spent volumes 2-4 trying to keep away from. In this volume, that assertiveness goes farther than the tentative first steps taken in the last volume, On to Genesis, where it started. Tom is full of a confidence he hasn't had in a while...although at at least one point it could easily have been overconfidence.
There's a showdown with the big bads that is extremely satisfying to read, even if it all doesn't go as our heroes want it, and there's plenty more set up for the next volume. The five-part main story of Tommy Taylor and the War of Words has lots of action by various people and lots of character moments.
The other part of this volume are the 'secret history' chapters - four interesting origin stories that give readers (in my opinion) a welcome look at the depth of the universe that this series is set in, and a fifth that does the same while moving the plot forward in a fascinating way.
The first focuses on the Cabal and is a fascinating globe-spanning, multi-century tale.
The second focuses on Pullman, one of the key parts of the Cabal, whose past was hinted at in volume 4 (Leviathan) and is confirmed beyond a doubt in one part of the main story. Here, however, it's presented as another (bloody) part of a classic story of world literature.
The third is about Madame Rausch, a previously peripheral character (with a traumatic past) who will surely gain more an more importance, particularly considering another secret history story.
The fourth story is about Wilson Taylor, Tom's still rather mysterious father. While giving readers more tidbits about his past (always welcome), it also establishes a juicy connection between him and another character...and I'm looking forward to seeing more of that relationship.
The fifth story is of a character that is introduced here but, by the end of it, may have a larger role to play in (at least the immediate) future of this series. The beauty of his story comes from how the events of previous parts of the series are told, seen as they are from a point of view very new to the reader - that of an outsider, someone who isn't a main character - and how he comes to be drawn into it. Through him, we also get more details about things that the main characters can't possibly know, because of how they are placed. I love this particular story more with repeated reading.
Great story, and as usual great art. The device of alternating artists with different styles is well used here, particularly in the secret history chapters.
So all in all, a great book...which also has one of my favourite lines in a comic ever, in what is also issue #34 of the comic floppies/single issues.
Lizzie: I was so scared. I was so scared for you.
Tom: Really? I wasn't worried for a second. // Magic's fallible, but a vampire and a Dickens heroine? Come on!
♥. I'm going to make an icon out of that someday.