The Unwritten 3: Dead Man’s Knock

unwritten volume 3 dead mans knock cover trade paperback tpb
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure issue

Really needs to kickstart the main plot

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Unwritten

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer: Mike Carey/Peter Gross

Artist: Peter Gross

# of Issues: 6

Release Date: 2011

unwritten #16 cover

The Unwritten #16

Reprints The Unwritten #13-18 (July 2010-December 2010).  Following his escape from prison, Tom and Savoy are on the run.  With a fake book coming out meant to draw out Wilson Taylor from hiding, the world is awaiting to finally see what happens to Tommy Taylor next.  Lizzie Hexam finds her own path is confused as she looks into what she thought was her reality as the secret organization pulling all the strings tries to shot Tom Taylor down once and for all!

Written by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, The Unwritten Volume 3:  Dead Man’s Knock is a DC Comics fantasy comic released under the Vertigo imprint.  Following The Unwritten Volume 2:  Inside Man, the series features art by Peter Gross.

While I enjoyed The Unwritten, it always felt a bit of a second fiddle to other Vertigo books at the time.  As a result, I read the first two volumes of the book and always intended to go back…but I never did.  Now, I’m finally picking up where I left off and continue to find the series, fun but also in some ways underwhelming.

The “big picture” story is starting to become annoyingly confusing.  It is always a risk with high concept stories that you eventually lose your audience because there aren’t enough answers or there are too many answers.  The Unwritten is leaning toward not enough answers.  While more and more “truths” come out, the dilution of those truths just seem to muddle stuff and runs the risk of making an “I don’t care” scenario.  It isn’t there yet, but I feel that the series needs more direction.

unwritten #17 cover choose your own adventure comic

The Unwritten #17

The volume also experiments and the experiment works (which can’t always be said for experiments).  While Tommy Taylor is a thinly veiled Harry Potter, the series goes back a bit further with Lizzie Hexam’s story.  In The Unwritten #17 (November 2010), the past of Lizzie Hexam is presented as a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” book (called Pick-A-Story here).  This is extremely tricky in that you have to get the readers to the same location eventually and you want the character to have a defined path for future stories.  The adventure has a couple of dead ends, but eventually has Lizzie, Tom, and Savoy back on the same page (literally), and it is a fun jaunt into childhood past when this style of book was extremely popular.

The Unwritten 3:  Dead Man’s Knock kind of feels like it is setting the course for the series and that much of what came before this was preface.  I don’t know that it is true, but in that feeling, it feels like a bit of a long warm up to really kick the story into gear.  I still look forward to seeing where The Unwritten will go and know that it does have a lot of potential (the Pick-A-Story helped prove that).  The Unwritten 3:  Dead Man’s Knock is followed by The Unwritten 4:  Leviathan.

Related Links:

The Unwritten 1:  Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

The Unwritten 2:  Inside Man

The Unwritten 4:  Leviathan

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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