So, I just discovered that The Unwritten is ending. This collection is the penultimate volume for the entire series, which will be ending in just a few months. This surprises me. It seems like the series has become a hit, both with readers and critics, so why end it? Fables has run far past what I thought would be its logical ending, but then again, Neil Gaiman brought Sandman to a close while it was still at the peak of its popularity.
I also discovered that this volume is actually a collection of the first five issues of a new series, titled The Unwritten: Apocalypse. That's really surprising, considering that the events happening in this series aren't going to make any sense to anyone who hasn't read the entire previous series. And why start a new series when you're just bringing the entire thing to an end? Why not just keep going with the existing series and wrap it up there? Luckily, this collection is counted as volume ten of the standard series, and not volume one of a brand new one.
The story is a direct continuation of the end of volume nine (which also makes me wonder why this is a new series), picking up with Tommy trying to find his way back to the real world after being stranded at the beginning of all stories. There's a neat metafictional element where he bounces around through classic stories on his way back, and I wish more time had been spent on that aspect of the story. As it was, it only took him one issue to get back to the real world, and the visits seemed hurried.
Other than that, the story is about preparing for battle (hence the title of the collection). Pullman returns, which reminded me of how Gepetto keeps coming back in Fables, and the armies of all the stories ever written are coming together to battle Tommy in a world that's barely holding together. Tommy makes deals to try to keep it all from ending, and in the next volume, we'll see how that turns out.
The whole thing felt very disjointed and rushed, which makes some sense now that I understand the creators are bringing the series to a close. But it just didn't seem to be as interesting as the rest of the series, which is disappointing. Carey proved that he could still pull off something that had the potential to be hokey with how he wrote the Fables crossover, so I'll hold off on passing judgment until I see how he ends it, but this collection didn't raise my hopes that much. Besides, it's not like I wouldn't read the last one either way; I mean, who gives up on watching a season of television right before the finale?