REVIEW: ‘Undiscovered Country,’ Issue #8

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Undiscovered Country #8 cover

Undiscovered Country #8 is an Image published comic written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule. The artists are Guiseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcelo Grassi. The colourist is Matt Wilson and the letters are by Crank!

In Issue 7, the group of travelers found themselves in another region (Unity) of America as they continue their journey following the Spiral. With their guide dead, their train emerged into a new, bleached white forest, where they were attacked by long, white tentacles that extended out of the ground. As the explorers were assessing their dangerous new surroundings, they were interrupted by the appearance of Samuel Elkins, whose head they had seen obliterated not long before. 

This issue begins with the team reacting to the revelation, which leads to more questions and answers. There is some more world-building about the entire country before the menace beneath the surface makes its presence known again, badly injuring party members. Recovering from the attack, Elkins drives the team into their first highly-populated area, Unity City. This is a metropolis powered and living on technology. Delving further into the city, the outsiders greet the citizen and powers that be, who gift the Grave siblings something powerful from their past.

The plot of the series is frequently evolving and keeping the reader on their toes. The team is never in one location for long, constantly sending them into danger. The pacing remains as quick as ever, and the momentum is kept up even when there isn’t any action taking place. As with the seven issues before this one, Undiscovered Country #8 ends with a shocking reveal that turns everything on its head yet again and was not hinted at in the slightest. 

The change in the landscape creates new threads for the series to explore, with the barren wasteland being replaced with a city. The potential for where the horror comes from has changed, again leaving the reader in total suspense. Originally, the series had Mad Max qualities to it, but now that has been altered completely by Soule and Snyder.

There is a lot of conversation within these pages, but also a segment of chaotic action that serves as a reminder that the characters are never safe. The actions have multiple purposes. For the first time, one of the protagonists is badly injured, implying that they are not infallible. It also showcases Marcus as the action hero again. With another party member under attack, Marcus leaps to their defense and gives an example of his skill. It felt like a fun, heroic moment for him that was appreciated after the exposition and heavy reveal at the beginning of the issue. The motion as he swings his knife is fluid, and the injuries are brutally depicted by the artists.

As just mentioned, there is heavy exposition throughout the issue as Elkins gives the travelers a guided tour of Unity. However, the dialogue never feels boring or clunky. Each bit of information is either crucial to the world or state the heroes are trapped in, or it exists to reveal more about their personalities. For example, for the first time, Ace tells the rest of the group his theory that time has moved faster within the walls of America than it has elsewhere. This not only expands on the time-manipulation dynamic that has been explored previously, but it also shows Ace’s increased confidence and genius. Alongside the storytelling, there is still time for funny moments and incredibly poignant scenes that readers have come to expect from the comic.

Undiscovered Country 8 panel

A large amount of dialogue is laid out well by Crank!. Despite the multitude of figures that are present on the page at times, the reader is able to keep track of who is talking. The use of SFX is rare, but when they are the words are just as chilling as the blanched trees around them.

The creation of Unity City is another brilliant design by Camuncoli and Grassi. The city seems to contain a couple of American landmarks, including the Space Needle and Golden Gate Bridge, all bleached completely white. The reveal of the city is unexpected, and the landscape view is gorgeous in its detail — not enough to be distracting but enough to give each building its own identity. When Elkins drives the team through the city in an old car, the line weights varied on each part of the car. This continues the bizarre features of this world that never cease to amaze, and each one is stunningly drawn. The stunned facial expressions. 

The characters that inhabit this region of the Spiral are completely different in their design. They look rounder in their lines than the individuals in the wasteland from which the explorers traveled. It is clear that every state is going to be unique in how everything looks, from the people to the wildlife to the infrastructure. We have gone from a total collapse of sanity to a seemingly technological paradise, but it is just as sinister.

Again, Wilson’s colours are sublime. Unity’s forests and people and architecture are completely bleached white, going from a great amount of colour in previous issues to an absence of it. This makes every part of it feel uncomfortable. But Wilson adds shades of blue to the shadows and bases of the buildings, filling the panels with the depth needed. Without it, the landscape could have felt flat at times with everything the exact same colour. Elkin’s car is absolutely devoid of colour, standing out from the rest of the slightly darker backgrounds. And where needed, there are faint dashes of red and blue on the roads and trees. In a brief flashback, the colours shift to a brown hue, giving the reader a refreshing break from the colour scheme of the main series. This has been utilized throughout the series, and it is crucial in conveying the atmosphere within each scene.

Undiscovered Country #8 is yet another transformative issue in the series. The revelations discovered will yet again lead this narrative down a completely new road. This world that both writers and artists are creating feels so full of detail and bursting with opportunities. The characters are wonderful, many of them barely unleashing their potential. The new region offers new varieties of fear and avenues of chaos. The next issue is destined to be just as great too.

Undiscovered Country #8 is available where comics are sold.

Undiscovered Country #8
5

TL;DR

Undiscovered Country #8 is yet another transformative issue in the series. The revelations discovered will yet again lead this narrative down a completely new road. This world that both writers and artists are creating feels so full of detail and bursting with opportunities. The characters are wonderful, many of them barely unleashing their potential. The new region offers new varieties of fear and avenues of chaos. The next issue is destined to be just as great too.