REVIEW: ‘Undiscovered Country’, Issue #6

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Undiscovered Country

Undiscovered Country #6 is part of the Eisner-nominated series published by Image, Written by both Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, with pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli and finished by Leonardo Marcello Grassi. Colors are by Matt Wilson and letters by Crank! Issue 6 is a gigantic issue, wrapping up the first arc of the dystopian series in dramatic style. Both our heroes and the forces led by the terrifying Destiny Man race to the wall that borders his territory. Big decisions are made and someone very important is removed from the story.

The first half of this issue moves at a frantic pace as three different groups of characters are racing towards the same spot. All three are being transported in three gigantic vehicles representative of the chaotic nature of this world that the series is built in. And when the heroes have to face the Destiny Man, the action is as big and explosive as it’s ever been within the pages of Undiscovered Country. As with every other issue within this series, there are reveals that are completely unexpected, and with the jumbo size of this issue,a it feels like there are more than ever. 

For the first time in the series, we lose some of the characters, and they all felt like a shock. One of them may appear again somewhere within the Spiral, but his potential departure felt powerful and well-written. The other one was a real gut punch and appeared out of nowhere. 

The main party members manage to regroup in Undiscovered Country #6, and having them all back allows Soule and Snyder to play with all of their personalities again. It was also gratifying to see that siblings Charlotte and Marcus, the focal point of this arc, have several plot points clarified and finished. Because of this, I feel like this is an opportunity for other members of the team to drive the plot forwards. 

One thing that I don’t think came across in other reviews of this series is how utterly bizarre it is, which fuels so much of my enjoyment of it. In the opening  Marcus and Charlotte are moving forward in an old train while a space shuttle powered by hot air balloons fly overhead, while they are being chased by a huge cruise liner, dragged across the ground by aquatic animals now evolved to move on land. The imagination on display fills the world with detail and depth, all while permanently plastering a grin on my face.

Undiscovered Country

The art is simply sublime. Camuncoli and Grassi have been consistently producing incredible line art throughout the series, and Undiscovered Country #6 is no exception. The scale of the vehicles as they move is epic, while the feeling of motion from the train and the cruise ship makes the chase scene incredibly intense. And the artists again manages to add small but important textures within every panel, inside the 44-page behemoth filled with action and space. A detail that has improved over the other issues are the facial expressions. They have always been great but in this issue, it feels like the emotions of the characters really come forth within the final pages. 

The color that Wilson adds to the comic is incredible too. There is an extensive variation in shades used, making every location different and easy to follow. And the tones are not so vibrant that they become distracting or detrimental to the dark world these characters are exploring, but they do add to the surrealism that is also prevalent in this series.

Crank!’s lettering is also important in regards to defining these characters. The Destiny Man’s word balloons make him so much scarier to read. There is a lot of dialogue in Undiscovered Country #6 but it is easy to read and laid out in such a way that it does not overcrowd the pages. And the sound effects often match the color of the background and wrap around the objects within the panel, adding to the art without being obstructive.

The concept of Undiscovered Country always felt inspired by current events, but all of a sudden this series has become scarily relevant in a way Soule or Snyder could not have predicted. A plot based around a country building walls and closing themselves off from the rest of the world has a poignancy already, but doing so in response to a global, uncontrollable pandemic strikes frightening parallels to the real world. In his end of book letter, Snyder comments that the most important theme that the series is built around is the dangers of isolation. As he says, “yes it touches on border walls and forced quarantines… but at its heart it is a warning against alienation on a deeper level.” 

This book is incredibly enjoyable and it is very possible to escape from the outside world into the beautiful pages. But it was important to mention that the themes of separation and reconnecting ring true, and they would without the terrifying similarities. 

Undiscovered Country #6 is a fantastic end to the first arc of my favorite book on the market right now. The huge issue manages to fill each age with the madness that has come to be expected within this series, while also featuring several somber surprises. There’s a feeling of finality in this issue. The story is far from over, but many characters and features of this section of the Spiral are left behind while our protagonists travel full steam ahead into another part of this broken country. Each creator involved is producing the best work of their career within this series, which makes each page feel incredibly powerful. And the most exciting part is that there are many more regions of America yet to be discovered, and it is impossible to guess what those territories have to offer. 

Note: The profits made by this book are being donated to the NAACP ACT-SO program, designed to encourage and stimulate achievement in arts and sciences among African-American high school students.

Undiscovered Country #6 is available where comics are sold.

 

Undiscovered Country #6
5

TL;DR

Undiscovered Country #6 is a fantastic end to the first arc of my favorite book on the market right now.  The story is far from over, but many characters and features of this section of the Spiral are left behind while our protagonists travel full steam ahead into another part of this broken country. Each creator involved is producing the best work of their career within this series, which makes each page feel incredibly powerful. And the most exciting part is that there are many more regions of America yet to be discovered, and it is impossible to guess what those territories have to offer.