unFollow #5 (Vertigo)
STORY : Rob Williams
ART : Mike Dowling (art) and Quinton Winter (colours)
A series that starts out as a simple take on modern culture, i.e, largely through the lens of social media, but then before you know it, changes the game completely. Now five issues in, it is acclaimed left and right and it’s not hard to see why.
Where we last left things: After a social media billionaire on his deathbed uses his Twitter-like app to select 140 people to equally receive a share of his billions (they each get US$130m each!), they are all flown to a Caribbean island of his and there once again the stakes were changed as he announced that should anyone amongst them die, their money shall be taken back and distrubuted amongst the remaining selectees. Fucked up right? Well it’s about to get worse.
This issue, we have a sweet little man found dead and washed up on the beach and the stakes have suddenly gotten all too real for all these lucky people. The author Akira whose book their rich “benefactor” ripped off for this final venture is determined to prove him (and his book) wrong and is trying to be a beacon of hope amongst these lucky folk, gathering them. Dave from the “hood” is shaken and still seeing big jungle-cats and has a run in with the mountain-militia-man Deacon who still speaks to “God” and tries to recruit Dave to help him fight the “Dragon”, while renounced rich-girl Courtney (now rich again!) is shaken by the death and is more than a little pissed. Ravan is continuing her work to tell the story of all that is happening as best she can and the exceedingly creepy Rubenstien, attendant (of sorts) to the billionaire behind all this continues to freak me out. The party is over, actions, consequences, emotional turmoil – as they line goes, shits about to get very real!
Rob Williams is really hitting his stride and just killing it with this series and his distinctive voices for all the myriad of characters from across the planet is truly remarkable. While it is here in comic form, so far the depth of the story, the characters, the world he has built that is so like our own except for this side-step he has take – it is all fantastic to read and in truth as I read it, I felt like I was reading some of the stuff from people like Philip Dick or Ursula LeGuin, this is a story well executed enough to be comparable to some of the best speculative fiction available today.
Story however, is not alone here. Clearly Rob has a fantastic rapport and working equation with Mike Dowling who seems to really understand the story and creates artwork that has just the right amount of space given to various things in his layouts and the emotions that come forth on every face. Between his artwork and the colouring that keeps everything feeling just enough like a comic, yet not comical, the art team has done a commendable job bringing this amazing story to life and makes each page a visual treat.
THE LAST WORD:
There’s a review blurb on the cover of this issue that says that “this is your new favourite comic, even if you don’t know it yet”.
And you know what? I can’t argue with that. Is it #1 on my current reading list? It’s hard to decide but it’s definitely up there and it did that within the first two issues and has held on firmly to my imagination and attention.
If there’s a comic from amongst the Vertigo relaunches – and amongst comics in general – that you should be reading and should give a chance to, it is undeniably this one.
STORY SCORE: 10 / 10
ART SCORE: 10 / 10
OVERALL SCORE: 10 / 10