Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Unfollow, Volume 2: God Is Watching Review (Rob Williams, Mike Dowling)


An eccentric dying billionaire who made his money on social media site Chirper, where users can send “chirps” of 140 characters or less, leaves his fortune to 140 random people around the world. If one of the 140 dies, their share is split between the survivors. Oh yeah and an insane masked killer is slowly tracking down and murdering each of the 140! Who will survive long enough to enjoy their money?

Rob Williams’ twisted take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory continues in Unfollow, Volume 2, which is as enjoyable and delightfully bananas as the first book.

Marguerite Sauvage beautifully illustrates the issue exploring Courtney’s traumatic past before series regular artist Mike Dowling returns when she travels to Japan to live in self-proclaimed prophet Akira’s commune/fort. But how safe she’ll be is questionable as Akira is an unhinged lunatic!

Come to think of it, the story is peppered with crazies. Mad American mountain-man Deacon teams up with Dave (who sees talking cheetahs) and RaVan (who sees talking bears) and the three hire Russian gangsters to protect them, which doesn’t go well for them. Who would’ve guessed that hiring opportunistic ultra-violent Russian thugs who know you have a fortune to exploit and completely depend on them wouldn’t work out?

The masked Rubinstein remains the best character especially as he gets progressively more insane – so nutty in fact that it’s almost funny (his mask opens its own Twitter, sorry, “Chirper” account)! He’s at least one of the madmen hunting down the 140, a number which is quickly decreasing, and he steals every scene he’s in. Williams also throws in an unexpected, clever twist in the third act which changes everything, keeping the story fresh and exciting.

The flaw in the story is why some of the 140 aren’t in hiding/hiring protection to keep them alive. We see quite a few who’re continuing to live normal lives despite being given millions of dollars and finding out a masked killer is out to get them – what the hell are they thinking!? They needn’t go the route of Russian gangsters and Japanese forts but they should be doing something! And, like in the first book, the art isn’t that impressive – Dowling and Ryan Kelly do a decent job, and I enjoyed Sauvage’s issue, but it’s pretty meh overall.

Unfollow remains an unusual, imaginative, original and compelling comic that’s Vertigo’s best current ongoing. If you liked the first book, you’ll like the second and fans of non-superhero comics should definitely check this fun title out.

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