[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Mike Dowling
Inker: Quinton Winter
The number of surviving 140 members is down to 129. Ravan, the Deacon and Dave are still hiding out on an undisclosed Russian island. Courtney OMG and Akira are still in Akira’s peace commune with 29 other members of the group. Bored out of her mind and with thousands of copy of only one book (Akira’s book), she decides to see what the hype is about. Rubenstein, who is secretly one of the 140, is on the prowl taking out as many members of the group as possible.
Rob Williams makes the right choice by only focusing on a few members of the 140. This could be a total disaster as there are so many story lines to follow. He smartly gets the people into groups and allows us to pay attention and get invested. We may hate a lot of them, and we do, but we pay attention and we get sucked in.
Ravan, who is maybe the only character who we do not outwardly dislike, has her goodness used against her. That is really important. The lesson that Williams wants us to learn is not just that social media is a hellscape, but that being good can be held against you. Being a decent person does not always pay off. In fact, being good, might get you killed. However, the decision you need to make is about the risk you are willing to take to be good. Would you let someone die just because he might try to kill you? How would you sleep at night if you knew you left someone behind just because you were scared? Williams wants you to think about it, so he makes Ravan deal with it.
There have been a few guest artists on this book and they have been good, but the book works best in the hands of co-creator Mike Dowling. These people are his creation and thus, this is how he wants us to see them. I think it works best this way. Akira’s face tattoo feels like it crawls off his skin and off the page. You almost feel like you can hear the squeaking of his metallic legs. Dowling’s Deacon is equally compelling and revolting at the same time. We would not be surprised to see a critter crawl out of his long, nasty beard at any time.
This book is rife with hallucinations. Dave sees talking cats. Deacon sees his Russian capture as a Bear. Rubenstein sees the mask move, bleed and talk to him. It is possible that others see it too, but we are not sure. There is no real explanation for the hallucinations as of yet. The book has been going for a year now and there is no good reason as to why these things happen. Some members of the 140 are drug addicts, but not these three guys. It seems like a layer of confusion that is not necessary. There is a lot of deception and crazy in the real world that Williams and Dowling have created that the need for astral projections of an animus feels out of place.
Unfollow is not for the meek. Of course, that is the case for everything that Vertigo does. Also, like everything from Vertigo, we are faced with our own ugliness and that is important. This is not the strongest issue in the run thus far, but it advances the plot, but the last page which features Courtney’s realization should make readers get in line for issue 12. Rob Williams has proven to be a storyteller who pulls no punches. This is a great story and we can only hope that we have several more years until the number remaining of the 140 is 2.