Review: Exposition And Excellent Art Help Build A Weird And Wired USA In ‘Undiscovered Country’ #9

by Olly MacNamee

What appeared to be a surprising family reunion at the end of the last issue of Undiscovered Country is soon put to bed within just the first few pages of this newest issue from writers Scott Snyder, Charles Soule, artists Guiseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Degrassi, colourist Matt Wilson and letterer Crank! Another example of the writer kept the readers in its toes and not to believe everything you see. And, a trick we only just saw last issue with the re-introduction of ‘Uncle Sam’, in a way.

But, it doesn’t mean these ghosts in the machine are not of use to our plucky heroes, brother and sister Daniel and Charlotte. It’s also a reminder that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. It’s the same feeling I get from this newest zone, Unity, that our stranded gang currently find themselves within. A world in which anything you can imagine you can create? Seems for too easy, doesn’t it? If only the assorted characters travelling through it were as sensible as me. But, they all seem far too easily bedazzled by this wired world of wonders. 

It’s not long before things start to fray at the edges. Family tensions rise and a hint that the foundations upon which Unity was build suggest tough sacrifices as we get a further history lesson in the establishment of this new fortified and walled off isolationist America. So, not parallels whatsoever to modern America there then, right? 

It’s another issue of exposition and catching up the readers on what we need to know to allow the story to grow, the world to be established and developed upon and to move forward. Unity as supposed to be the shining example that would share its technological innovation with the rest of America. It just never turned out that way. So much for a united nation!

So, it’s with some applause that I commend the art on this issue. With all this explanation and dialogue this issue could have been an entertaining read, but a dull book to look at. But not so, m’lord. Artists Guiseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Degrassi give readers panel after panel of emotive and highly expressive talking heads and cutaway shots that will keep you glued to each page. The cold hues of blue colourist Matt Wilson brings to bear is one of the reasons this whole utopia gives me the chills. We are reminded at the very beginning of this issue that much of America was built on ingenuity, yes, but also on aggressiveness. I won’t even go into the genocide of a whole race of people, but I think you get the idea. Synder and Soule are no sentimentalists, that’s for sure.

Let’s not forget that when it comes to a lot of technological advancements, they often originate in the military first and foremost. And when there is mention of a previous “massive energy surge” that originated from Unity many moons ago, you just know our adventurers are once again heading into trouble. And quickly.

Plus, if you read right through to the end and the interview with Snyder and Soule, they make mention of the differences between this comic book and the forthcoming TV series too. A little peek behind the wizards curtain and another one of the many great additions to each issue. It really gives readers something more for their money and their visions of a future America reminds me a great deal of the early days of 2000AD, Judge Dredd and the creators’ own take on an all new post-apocalyptic America. But, rather than the Cursed Earth, we get a Silicon Valley out of control. Which is much worse, I reckon. In the future it looks like civilisation is making teh same mistakes all over again in trusting in technology. D’oh!

Undiscovered Country #9 is out now from Image Comics.

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