Undiscovered Country #7 is a comic published by Image, written by Charles Soule and Scott Snyder, with art by Guiseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi, colours by Matt Wilson, and letters by Crank!
This issue is the beginning of a new arc of the adventure series as the group of unlikely adventurers find themselves venturing forth, discovering a new region of this twisted version of America. As they travel, some members of the party begin to plot against the rest of the team, causing friction amongst the squad. Their journey is derailed very quickly and they yet again find themselves isolated in hostile territory.
At the start, and fragmented through the comic, is a flashback of the nation after the sealing when America was cut off from the outside world. Daniel Elkin, whose head was obliterated in the preceding issue, and the parents of Marcus and Lottie Graves go to a meeting between the then president of America and the representatives of each individual region in a state of the union speech.
The seeds of the devolution of the nation are clear from this meeting. This scene is presented as a prologue to the main story, stitched in before even the title page, but it’s a reminder to the audience of the years of history that Snyder and Soule have packed into this series. While there are some answers given regarding who and what the mysterious Aurora Project is, and the emergence of the mutated animals that will later roam the continent, there are more questions raised to keep the reader interested in that timeline.
The structure of the plot creates the feeling of a transition issue, with there being a literal tunnel between the two segments of the Spiral. There was still a state of shock from the madness of the arc-ending issue, so it is beneficial to start quieter this time. The hopping between past and present has been a consistent plot device, but those subplots were dedicated to the protagonists making their way in. This is one of the first issues that shows what happened after the sealing of the nation, and it’s a really welcome delve into how the nation was trying to function.
When the plot does return to the main party, they are largely uninterrupted by the flashback story, which allows its individual pace to be maintained. The madness of their surroundings is allowed to flourish while the fascinating political storyline of the past is also given its due attention. The fact that this team never has a safe haven or advantage for long keeps the reader in constant fear for what will happen to them. This new zone is vastly different, a completely white forest, with a threat that looks utterly terrifying and inescapable. And it ends with a surprise that floored me when I read it.
One of the best features of Undiscovered Country #7 is again these wonderful characters. They haven’t been together in a while and so much trauma happened during their time apart. This series blows me away every single time with the depth that these characters are bestowed. Possibly the one member of the remaining six main characters that has remained in the background, Janet, has a verbal sparring match with Marcus that shows her fury and fear, but also her manipulative, scheming side. The battle of words bounced between Marcus, Chang, and Janet is a sign of how the group is starting to fracture and grow tired of each other, which will soon lead to delicious chaos. In the flashback, all of the representatives of the different zones are completely individual in how Camuncoli and Grassi design them, and they all fit into the bizarre, bonkers world America becomes after the Sealing.
The dialogue remains as beautifully written as ever. Charlotte, who is still getting over the fact she has been injected with a vaccine for the planetary threatening Sky Virus she had contracted, converses with Valentina and their dialogue is laced with exposition and backstory, but it’s also touching and emotive.
None of the characters in this issue have specific word balloons or affectations, but each of their personalities radiates from the words. Marcus’ leadership, Chang’s arrogance, Charlotte’s trepidation; all are evident in each balloon used. Crank! fits the pages with large word balloons and text size, making them very easy to read.
The artwork in Undiscovered Country is still unbelievable. As mentioned before, every representative in the flashback is distinct in their design, and all are given precise details by Camuncoli and Grassi. The facial expressions the figures make are brilliantly accurate in what they are portraying. These details aren’t just on the faces either. In one panel, the inks on Valentina’s coat make the bottom of it look frayed and worn. These subtle features within the pages do just as much to immerse me in this world as the balloon-powered spaceships.
The action within the comic accelerates at the end of the issue, but the drama created by the artists when the protagonists argue is scintillating still. And when the action does go off track, it is stunning how both the motion and impact is captured. Whatever haunts this zone is again superbly designed and taps into a deep primal fear.
The new segment of the spiral is just as well designed as the previous one, but maybe even creepier. One of the creators who was influential in making this region so sinister was Wilson, the colourist. Everything around the characters is bleached white, but there are still chilling shadows, and the different shades Wilson uses are amazing. There are faint red and blue lines on the trees which adds to the eerie atmosphere that lingers in every inch of this new nation. Inside the train, the tender, slow scene between Valentina and Charlotte is gorgeous in how the colours light it. There’s a scarlet tone that shines through, contrasting with the shadows and creating an illusion of a sunset. It’s a really warm colour that lingers on the wall and in Valentina’s hair, adding to a really beautiful scene.
Undiscovered Country #7 is yet another glorious issue, and this issue is exactly what fans of the series needed. The comic allows for the development of the amazing characters, then unleashes more of the chaos that we should be used to by now, but keep longing for more of. This new region of the Spiral is going to be far more frightening than the last one and we’ve barely seen much of it. And the Valentina/Charlotte scene may be one of my favorite of the run so far. The dialogue within it is lovely and the artwork on both of them is incredible. The train may have stopped in this issue, but the story definitely isn’t slowing down.
Undiscovered Country #7 is available wherever comics are sold.
Undiscovered Country #7
Undiscovered Country #7 is yet another glorious issue, and this issue is exactly what fans of the series needed… This new region of the Spiral is going to be far more frightening than the last one and we’ve barely seen much of it. And the Valentina/Charlotte scene may be one of my favorite of the run so far.
Screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”