Larry Ferrell is the creator of the popular social media platform Headspace, he is also dying of cancer. He has randomly chosen 140 people to inherit his $18 billion fortune. Overnight people from across the globe are informed that their lives have changed and that they are being made millionaires.
However, as it is explained to the people who will be inheriting Ferrell’s fortune, when a person dies their portion is then spread amongst the remaining people.
Unfollow Vol. 1 is the latest trade paperback out by writer Rob Williams and artist Michael Dowling. It tells a familiar story, but in a modern 21st century setting. Like the movies and books The Most Dangerous Game, The Highlander, Battle Royale, and The Hunger Games; Unfollow tells the story of people vs. people in a life and death scenario.
The man hunting man scenario is not all too original, it is a story that has been played out multiple times. Yet, it is a story that still remains compelling and fun to tell. Unfollow of course takes this idea and merges it with the modern world of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more.
The 140 that figures so strongly in this series most definitely is a nod by the creators to the popular social media platform, Twitter. Twitter, which many internet savvy people know, only allows for 140 character messages. However, this number is used cleverly by Williams who uses it more as a countdown meter for the people left remaining alive in the story.
While reading this comic I couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a deeper meaning to the story. Perhaps a commentary on society, how the more connected we are with our mobile devices the more disconnected we become from our fellow man. This seemed the most obvious in the story when a minor character is found dead, and the 138 remaining people are preoccupied with posting to social media than having an emotional experience in regards to what is in front of them.
The characters in this book seem for the most part grounded and realistic, with the exception of a few people who seem to be almost a deus ex machina that defies the established reality of the series. You have the young black man who means well and wants to get out of the ghetto, the rich socialite who despises her own wealth, the female journalist who comes from an oppressive Middle Eastern Country, the gun toting Jesus freak, a mysterious murderer who appears to have shapeshifting abilities, and a japanese novelist with cyborg legs.
However, for the time being, the more fantastical elements appear to be interesting, and not completely distracting from the story.
Art wise the book is strong, Michael Dowling beautifully captures the look and emotion of everyone in the story. There are no musclebound superheroes and busty superheroines. Instead, the characters look like the everyday people you may work with or see on the bus. Some are tall, some are skinny, some are balding, and some may even have a beard. It is refreshing to see the very imperfect world we live in reflected on the pages of the comic. Despite this story obviously being fiction with hints of sci-fi, it is a world I can almost imagine myself living in.
This is a very interesting first story arc and it is one that I will be recommending, that is to not say it isn’t without its flaws. The story for the most part is slow moving in the early issues, and it doesn’t become clear that this will be become a “Most Dangerous Game” style story until later issues.
Although, the mystery of the whole event keeps the story interesting, for some readers with shorter attention spans this might be a turn off.
Overall, I am enjoying this series and Unfollow Vol. 1 is a strong first story arc for what looks to be a fascinating concept. The only complaint is that some of the early issues moved a little slow. This wasn’t a huge issue for me, but I could see it dissuading some readers from reading this to completion.
- Story is interesting and weird, but not convoluted
- Raises some interesting philosophical questions
- Artwork seems grounded in reality for the most part
- Some slow parts