By Daniel Vlasaty
I didn’t really like the first issue of The Unsound. It just came off as boring and unoriginal and it didn’t hit the spots in my brain I think it was supposed to hit. I don’t know. I told myself I was going to be done with the book, that I had too much other stuff to read. I’ve told myself this a lot over the years. That if I’m not one hundred percent into a book that I should cut it out of my life. That there are plenty other books out there that I actually do like that I should spend my time reading.
I’m of the mindset that you should always go with your gut. If you don’t like something then you should stop doing that thing, whatever it is. You want to change something then change it. And usually when I don’t listen to my own advice I just end up pissed off at myself, shaking my fist at my reflection in the mirror. But that’s exactly what I did here. I didn’t listen to my own advice. I bought and read the second issue of The Unsound. And I didn’t hate it. I actually liked it a bit more than the first issue, I think. And then I read the third issue, and I liked it more still. I’m not too proud to admit when I might have been wrong. And I’m only a human, so my mind can be changed. Safe to say it has been here.
I think the thing I liked most about this issue is that it reminded me of a dream. Not a full-on nightmare, because I didn’t find anything in this issue outright scary or terrifying. More of a dream because of the weirdness to it. Because of the level of confusion and imagery that doesn’t quite make sense. Like you know what you’re looking at but you can’t recall how you came to be looking at it, or how it connects to anything else that came before it. This is how most of my dreams work at least. Shit don’t make sense, and I’m equal parts weary and intrigued and confused. This is how I felt most of the time I was reading this issue.
I’m going to call this a calm before the storm issue. There wasn’t a ton of stuff that happened here but we were given some information about the characters and the hospital. And also the hospital within the hospital, the place most of the patients went after the real hospital closed its doors and they were left to their own devices. We are told why people should wear masks and shown what can happen if you’re not wearing yours. We are shown the horrors of the hospital and the horrors of the mind. Cullen Bunn tells this story in a way that is no longer predictable. One of the comments I made in my first review was that the book seemed clichéd and over-done. But that’s not the case anymore. I have no idea where this story is going or even what the hell is going on. This is a calm before the storm issue because there is something there, right on the edge, like when you see something out of the corner of your eye, some movement, but by the time you look whatever was there is gone and you got the chills running up and down your body. Whatever it is in The Unsound hasn’t made itself known yet. But it’s coming soon.
The real treat in issue #3 is Jack T. Cole’s art. It’s stronger and stranger than ever. While I still had minor issues with some of it, especially in the characters and their flat faces. I really felt he reveled in the weirdness and the surreal aspects of the secret hospital within the hospital. He illustrates in a way that transports us into another world. Beyond the colorful door is another dimension. Like an M.C. Escher painting on crank. The way he draws the illusions and the horrors and what I’m going to assume are the “bad guys” with their weird heads and doll parts worn around their necks and their long cloaks is what really pulled me into his corner on this issue. It’s another level. The colors, too, are great. The popping bright neons against the drab grays and browns of the hospital really stand out.
All-in-all I liked issue #3 of The Unsound. I think it’s a book that still has some issues that need to be worked out but we’re still early on in this thing. It’s only the beginning and I think it can only get better. Cullen Bunn is a writer that I trust to deliver the goods in the long-run. Each issue of this book has been better than the one that came before it, and if it continues to follow this trend this story can only get better and better, and bigger and bigger as Bunn and Cole pull us deeper into their world of weird.
The Unsound #3