Review: Unfollow #16

by Tony Farina
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[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Mike Dowling
Inker: Quinton Winter

There are a few stories going on here. Forty members of the 140 are still alive. Dave, Deacon, Ravan and Courtney OMG are on the way to a Venezuelan jungle where Larry Ferrell is waiting to have his final showdown. The FBI is trying to shut down the church of Akira which has more followers than any democracy in the world. We find that there is  secret cabal of people who run the internet. What the hell?!

Ready for some real talk, friends? Imagine a guy who might have the face of Ronald Reagan. In his hand he holds a smart phone as he stares down some FBI agents who have arrived to shut down Akira’s church. Creepy Ronnie guy says:

“Everyone on the planet has one of these, and Chirper and Headspace are their primary news sources where their world views are formed. Their education. No one can possibly fact-check all these stories. They simply flash past too quickly but they exist and have the same status as ‘real’ news… No one care about the truth. Not any more. Human beings only care about what they want to hear, what suits their needs, their fears, their desires.”

Rob Effing Williams ladies and gents. Dude says things you need to hear. In this book and in Suicide Squad, Williams drops truth bombs like this all the time. Sure, this book as a talking leopard, mental projection and an artificial intelligence deity who, in his life, cut off his own legs to get attention, and a creepy guy in a mask running around killing people, but at the root of this is reality. He is telling us we just need to look. LOOK! The truth is out there. The genius? Williams wrote this book before #alternativefacts was a thing but he knew that there are already alternative facts. He knew that Twitter and Facebook have created a whole population of social media zombies who have no facts but think they do. This whole book has been a wake up call to America. I hope they are reading it.

Mike Dowling has created world that creeps me out because it is so real.  Look at page one. Phone zombies. Cut to, guy eating food off of the floor. Real. He makes us feel like voyeurs which I have no doubt, is the plan. The whole book has been drawn in a way that makes us feel part of this but apart from it. We know this is real, but we know it is fake too. I feel like I am watching the news from an alternate reality. Most alternate realities have flying dog people or monsters. This alternate reality looks real because it is.

This issue is pretty brilliant. Normally, the jumpy story telling can fall down, but in the hands of Williams, it works. Applause.

If you do not like soul searching, if you do not like reality, if you do not like looking in the mirror, don’t read this book. If you like those things, pick this up. Plus, Rob Effing Williams drops the mic with that last page. Damn.

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