REVIEW: Unfollow vol. 1: 140 Characters by Rob Williams and Michael Dowling

Unfollow, Vol. 1: 140 CharactersUnfollow, Vol. 1: 140 Characters by Rob Williams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good, but not amazing opening volume to one of Vertigo's newer ongoing series. Written by Rob Williams and illustrated by Michael Dowling, Unfollow is the story of a billionaire social media mogul who decides to do a little experiment on some of his platform's users. In order to find out if humanity is basically good or evil, he spreads his wealth out over "140 characters," meaning people in the world. Yes, it is an eye-roll worthy pun, I happen to enjoy a good pun from time to time, your mileage may vary. From that point on, the fewer people there are in the group, the larger percentage of the inheritance each member gets. I'm sure you get the idea here. Violence begins. Mysteries start to be revealed. And so on.

There is a lot to like in the ridiculous situations Williams puts his characters into throughout the first volume. There are enjoyable, absurd characters around every corner (which I find to be a hallmark of a good Vertigo book), their dialogue sizzles along nicely, and this trade makes me want to know where their arcs are going. However, the book sometimes feels like people make decisions more because the plot demands it than because it felt true to their character, and once that genie is out of the bottle, it is hard to regain immersion in a story. Hopefully this is an issue that clears up once Williams gets the feel of these characters and their motivations completely under his control.

I do enjoy the rugged feel of Dowling's art throughout. I think it strikes the right tone and the close-ups on faces give a great amount of detail without getting in the story's way. A lot of the set pieces remind me of Jon Davis-Hunt's work in Clean Room.

If you've got a full docket of comics, this is one is ultimately missable, but if you've got some money burning a hole in your pocket and the time to spare, you could definitely do worse than picking up the first volume of Unfollow.

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