COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #2 – The Roundup | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #2 – The Roundup

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #2 - The Roundup

Writer: Rob Williams

Artists: Michael Dowling, Quinton Winter, Clem Robins, Matt Taylor


Vertigo Comics

In November, Rob Williams and Michael Dowling released their social media based thriller, Unfollow. Today sees the release of the second issue and I, for one, am thrilled.

COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #2 - The Roundup

Unfollow #2 (2016) – Page 5

What made Unfollow #1 so much fun to read was the cast of characters that Williams and Dowling have created. They’re nuanced, complex, engrossing, and are largely the driving force behind the larger story arc. So, it’s excellent to see that the second issue opens with some new characters. Williams takes us to Japan to meet Akira – a naked, legless, author with a face tattoo, who lives with his clearly stoned boyfriend. Taking place deep in the mountains, this scene sets up Akira with a lot of style and finesse, but also leaves the impression that he’s going to play a much larger part in the enigma surrounding the 140.

Normally, with such a large and diverse cast of characters introduced in the first issue, it would feel to me like adding new characters right off the bat would be too much. In many cases, expanding the cast too quickly can spell trouble for a writer as they are then forced to juggle all of their plot lines and maintain a balance with their story arc. However, Williams has taken consideration for this by leaving out the daredevil character, @courtneyOMG. While we may have to wait a while to see more development on her, this is a good play. It shows that Williams is capable of grasping the ambitious payoff that he created with his first issue.

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Moving past the Akira scene, the rest of the book is all familiar faces. This issue reads slowly for that reason, but in a way that invests you in the characters. You learn more about almost everyone in the cast in this issue and are introduced to the dynamics surrounding the circumstances of their lives and relationships to other human beings. In fact, this issue is full of human moments. The scripting makes this book feel plausible, like this book could be taking place in the world we live in today.

COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #2 - The Roundup

Unfollow #2 (2016) – Page 7

The only supernatural or fantastical element presented so far is the reach of Mr. Ferrell – the dying billionaire sharing his wealth with the 140. He seems to know where every character is at any moment and what is transpiring in their story. He is Big Brother to the point that he sends his friend in the Zulu mask to assassinate a room full of guards to free Raven, the BBC reporter, as she’d been taken captive by a terror cell in Iran.

These pages are really where Dowling shines. The rest of the book is great to look at. All of the lines lead your eye right to where they need to be. They’re deep and inviting. In these action scenes though, artists have a tendency to create a sense of chaos by dramatically zooming in on every panel to try to show the motion of the action, but ultimately just creating the comic book version of “shaky cam.” Dowling thankfully doesn’t do that. His action is clean and clear and dramatic. It makes the assassin character seem way more bad-ass when shown that people can’t even put up a fight against him.

COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #2 - The Roundup

Unfollow #2 (2016) – Page 19

The connecting theme in Unfollow #2 is that Ferrell has sent his men to collect the members of the 140, and that’s what we’re seeing here as we reach further into the characters’ lives. What this hopefully means is that we’re going to see a meetup of the characters in perhaps as early as the next issue, and get some context to what Ferrell’s intentions are and what they mean for the 140. Whatever is happening, Williams and Dowling have proved that it’s going to be an event not to be missed.

The “Best There Is”: This issue is an engaging look at the cast of characters with exciting action scenes woven in. Given the slow pace, Williams and Dowling have created a wonderful context for their characters and have made each of them so fulfilling to read that they could each stand alone. I could read one-shot backstory issues of all of these characters and not be disappointed. But, to top that off, there is a big, engrossing, overarching story that issue two tugs at the seams of and it’s more than enough to keep you reading.

The “Not Very Nice”: Williams and Dowling make it hard to make a complaint, but I can say that I wish there was a little more of the big 140 story in here. I love all of the characters, but with the pace of this issue, there’s not a real sense of what Ferrell has in store. It’s hard to tell whether he’s menacing, or altruistic, or neither, or both, and it makes Unfollow feel without a villain or meaningful conflict in context with the overarching story.

FBI Score: 9 out of 10. Unfollow is vibrant and human. It connects you to a cast of characters that are so defined and enjoyable that it’s hard to believe that this is only the second issue. Williams and Dowling have created something that promises to be epic in scope by the time that it’s through, but they’re doing it at a pace that gives consideration to their cast and it reads like a dream.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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