COMIC REVIEW: Unfollow #3 – The 139
By Buddy Beaudoin
Writer: Rob Williams
Unfollow is the story of 140 random characters all made rich by a dying leader of industry, Larry Ferrell, who bequeaths his billions to them as his final gracious act. In the last issue, Mr. Ferrell calls each lucky member of the 140 group to a summit on his private island, and we began to get embedded with their personalities. That’s where we pick up in Unfollow #3.
The bulk of the story centers around Dave, a young inner city kid with a mixed up past and a protective older sister. His opening soliloquy is fantastic. Drawing parallels to real life, the beginning of the book puts us in Ferguson, Missouri during the height of the riots. Dave is there with his sister as people begin to get tear gassed, but the narration is where the story scene stands out. Williams creates a commentary on social media and how it affects the world and shapes people’s perception of events. This has been the backbone of the series since the first issue, but this scene is the most impacting thus far as it gives the reader something tangible, something they lived through, to grasp as context.
After the flashback, we’re transported back to Dave who is on one of Ferrell’s private jets awaiting takeoff. After an absence from the last issue, we’re reunited with Courtney in all of her drunken party girl glory. She doesn’t play a larger part in the issue, but she does give Dave an unforgettable encounter.
The art pairing of Michael Dowling and Quinton Winter is superb. The line work is not overly dramatic or sharp, but the combination of Dowling and Winter does a fantastic job of telling the story through the characters. Since this story is nothing without its strange and varied cast, the art direction is essential and it’s making a big impact.
We’re taken back to most of the characters from the previous issues, but we’re missing out on the reporter. While the story in this issue feels complete, and is expertly done, her absence is definitely felt. The last issue spent so much time with her, and gave her such huge scenes that not knowing what’s going on with her leaves a lot of questions unanswered. However, we do get a new character, and he comes with an ominous premonition. We’re introduced to a Nigerian named Mr. Abassi. He’s got a skin condition, and his face is yet to be shown in full. Nor has he uttered a single word of dialog. What’s interesting is that Dave gets the feeling that Mr. Abassi will be the man to kill him. What’s even more interesting is that the christian gun nut character seems to have been waiting for him to arrive – citing that he received a message from God.
Most of the major themes that have been working in the story so far are culminated at the summit in a speech from Ferrell. He leaves the characters with a stunning new plot mechanic that immediately turns this series into something other than its beginnings. Ferrell tells everyone that his net worth is split among them evenly. This is information we’ve had from the beginning. The twist, however, is that whenever a member of the 140 dies, all of the living members are given the decedent’s share of his capital. One of the members has already died, leaving the group to just 139 members, each with a larger sum of inheritance. The issue ends on the grotesque note with Ferrell giving the crowd of 139 the notion that they can gain billions of dollars by killing each other off. Suddenly, this just turned into The Hunger Games for money.
The “Best There Is:” The art perfect encapsulates the story being told and adds a robust uniqueness to every character in a character driven story. The M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist at the end makes the intentions of the series far more clearly than they had previously been, and immediately ramps up the action in a single sentence. The story telling on all accounts is breathtaking.
The “Not Very Nice:” After spending so much time making the reporter character feel like a focal point of the story, leaving her absent from this issue is a bit of a let down. A lot of big themes were introduced as a result of her story line, and they are simply not present in this issue.
FBI Score: 9.5 out of 10. Unfollow is a masterpiece. Rob Williams and his art team have created something here that is as imaginative as an Oscar winning film, but is believable enough to be a documentary. The social commentary is beautiful and rife with touching moments that keep the series grounded in reality and allows the creators to embolden their message. It’s clear that Unfollow is just getting started, and we’ve all just been reminded to hang on for dear life.
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...