Review – Unfollow #7 (Vertigo Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
Release Date: 4th May, 2016

The latest issue of Rob Williams’ UNFOLLOW continues in the same vein as the previous chapter; a guest artist-drawn look at one of the 140 (or should that be 138?), giving us a little more insight into their character, background and motivations.  This time the focus falls squarely on Courtney, the brash, enigmatic heiress who – as it turns out – has a hell of a lot more going on than just a pretty face and a “Rich Kids of Instagram”-esque knack for excess.

Williams revels here in the contradictive aspects of Courtney’s personality; from having her lounging by the pool, surrounded by quote-unquote “beautiful people”, reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov while directing withering barbs at the bimbos flouncing past, to the unapologetic middle finger to society that is her new “reality” show.  This is a woman with some serious depth, and the deeper we dig, the more we release that – much like Deacon in the previous issue – this is a character who could easily carry the weight of the series on her own if needed.

The “guest artist” role here is filled by Marguerite Sauvage, and while I’m a big fan of her previous work, I’ll freely admit to raising an eyebrow when I heard she was coming on board for this issue. With a soft, gentle style, I was a little concerned about just how well she’d fit in with the tone of the series – particularly following hot on the heels of the previous harsh, brutal issue drawn by R.M. Guera.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried.  Sauvage does a truly stunning job here with Courtney, using her well-established knack for drawing beautiful, expressive female characters to its fullest effect, but also injecting her pages with a little extra ‘edge’, particularly during the flashback sequences.  Her page layouts are dynamic throughout, with overlapping panels and creative borders and splash pages aplenty, and the soft colours of the present day juxtapose beautifully with the stark greys and reds of the past, giving each time frame its own striking identity.

This issue, perhaps more than any other so far, serves to illustrate the sheer brilliance of this series.  Such is the diversity of the cast of characters that Rob Williams has introduced us to so far, there’s literally no limit to the different directions the series can move in as it progresses.  Each of the primary protagonists we’ve met so far have their own distinctive backgrounds, personalities and outlooks, meaning that Williams can effortlessly slip between different genres or tones as he sees fit.  Oh, and if he ever gets bored, let’s not forget that there’s another 130 or so characters he can push to the foreground if needs be.

While the issue itself doesn’t particularly advance the overall narrative too much – save for a little chess piece manipulation near the end – what it does manage is to add a whole new layer of depth and intrigue into what was already a pretty damn intriguing character.  The shocking final pages paint Courtney’s eclectic mixture of brashness and introspection in a whole new light, as well as providing a somewhat tragic slant to her self-destructive tendencies.

Once again, UNFOLLOW remains an absolutely essential purchase, for its sheer wanton creativity and unpredictability if nothing else.  We’re now seven issues in, and there’s a feeling that we’ve only barely scratched the surface of what’s to come.  This is absolutely note-perfect ensemble storytelling, blending humour, violence, human drama and horror into one truly addictive cocktail. Buy it.  Buy it now!

Rating: 4.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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