Thursday, January 12, 2012

Trade Central Station: The Unwritten Vol. 4: Leviathan



The Unwritten Volum 4: Leviathan
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross, Vince Locke, and Al Davison

Why???!!!! Why did I put off reading this trade for so long????!!!!!

It's awesome!

I'd shake someone else's shoulders and slap them in the face, if I weren't sitting by myself right now, for my tomfoolery.

Okay, so "Leviathan" collects issues 19-24. We're finally getting pieces of more and more Tom Taylor's past. We get a glimpse of his mother and we, also, see the ways in which Tom's father molded Tom to be ready to understand and one day use the power Wilson Taylor has been "obsessively" studying.

Things get nice and steamy between Tom and Lizzie, though as she was very much trained by Wilson, too, she's now confused about her relationship with Tom and wonders if her feelings for him are genuine.

There's a really great line in here where a younger Lizzie is talking to a young Tom about the difference between the truth of something real and the truth of stories. She emphasizes that same idea that's been going on through this series about the way words and stories impact lives and how reality is fleeting but stories last forever.

The cabal, the men who rule and shape the world, understand this. Wilson understands this. Tom is still trying to figure out who he is and now what he was made for, which comes as a part of his epiphany moment. He's landed himself stuck inside Herman Melville's Moby Dick. He's falling through story after story, realizing that there are places where the stories connect. Soon they're overlapping. He's hunting his whale like Captain Ahab because that is the source of this magical power. And then he finds his whale. He understands that it's not a whale at all but a symbol and a symbol so large that it has a life of its own. He understands the nature of his magic and finally finds a way to go back to reality.

Savoy is having a terrible time as he soon realizes he'd been bitten by Count Ambrosio and is now turned into a vampire.

We meet a fascinating character referred to as the Toymaker, a woman called Rausch. She's hired by the cabal, carves little toys of Lizzie and Savoy, and makes them beat each other to a pulp in trying to find out information about Tom.

At the end of the trade, we're not sure what will happen to them. Rausch sees they know nothing, less than she, in fact. All they have is a moment's rest. It's like the same thing when Tom is a child and Wilson is reading a story to him. Tom asks if there is a happy ending. Wilson says no because then the story would forever be over. All the hero is allowed is a moment of respite, until the next great journey begins.

The trade ends with a story about a stairwell. I think this is the same stairwell mentioned earlier in the trade where Wilson would go to the top of to study. The "golden door" is said to be at the top. There is a troop of talking animals all working their way to get to the top because everything will be better at the top and that is where the "maker" lives. This foul-mouthed rabbit, not really a rabbit, but a man named Pauly Bruckner has fallen in with this group and leads them ever upward. They, too, are working their way through story after story. Pauly briefly mentions his grief at the fact that they aren't out of the "talking animals" section yet and wonders just how large this place is and how long they will have to go. He, of course, takes the easy way out. He finds a magic hat and pulls himself through it, so we will have to wait and see what comes of him and where he lands next.

I really enjoyed how the trade cut back and forth between characters and time, each titled so that they represent smaller stories sometimes only one page long, but come together to tell this larger story, just like the symbol of the whale. As always, the artwork and storytelling is top notch. I'm most eager to find out more about Lizzie.

I should be getting Volume 5 tomorrow. Hopefully, I won't take nearly as long to get around to reading it as I did Volume 4. I just started re-reading Harry Potter again and I enjoy it so much I forget to read other stories. Ah, we'll see.

-O.Pelaez

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