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The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan

(The Unwritten #4)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  4,757 ratings  ·  260 reviews
This fourth volume in the acclaimed series sends Tommy Taylor into the world of Moby-Dick!
After the shocking return of Tommy's father, best-selling fantasy author Wilson Taylor, the mysterious Cabal audition a new assassin and Tom seeks out "the source". The source of what? He's not really sure, but it looks like a whale, and apparently it can be found in the Nantucket far
Paperback, Trade, 144 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Vertigo
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Christopher Ware It's the character from Rudyard Kipling's HOW THE WHALE GOT HIS THROAT.

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 ·  4,757 ratings  ·  260 reviews

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Apr 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A decent story, but when they start talking about all the existential stuff, my mind wandered.

If the stories are real, are we a story? What was the true meaning of the Leviathan? Does it represent all human consciousness working together to suspend disbelief in stuff n things. Is the whale really just a whale, or does it fart the secrets of the universe out of its blowhole...yadda, yadda, yaddda.

Shut up, Neo. It was cool when you were dodging bullets, but now you're boring me.


The best part of th
December 2015:
"For by art is created that great Leviathan called a Commonwealth, or people . . . which is but an artificial man; though of greater stature and strength than any man might be."

This is the part of The Unwritten where everything crystallizes, and you go ohhhhh, that's what's going on! And the reveal happens in such a neat and organic way.

After the events of Dead Man's Knock, Tommy knows he has to find the source of his fathers (and his) mysterious power so he can learn to wield
GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott)
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, vertigo
Pinocchio playing cards with Sinbad in the belly of a whale while Baron Munchausen tries to load a cannon and blast his way out of the belly to freedom.

Yeah. That happens.

Fuck me, I love comic books.

Also, the final issue in this volume brings Pauly Bruckner (the foul-mouthed talking rabbit) back and his story is super freaking rad! I used to love talking animal stories (wind in the willows, Babar, Watership Down) when I was a wee little tyke, so Pauly's stories are always a hell of a lotta fun f
Ed Erwin
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
The main story was only 3-star for me, but the addition of another story about Pauly the F***ing rabbit at the end bumped it up.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
I'm not sure why I didn't like this installment as much as earlier ones. Perhaps one reason is I found its beginning chapters much more interesting (and funny) than the rest.

I enjoyed the Moby-Dick references (a book I've read and think is great) but I'm not as familiar with the stories of Baron Munchhausen (I'm not generally interested in tall tales) and I had to look up who the Irishman might be -- I'm thinking he's the one in this ballad.)

I especially liked the climax of this volume, when t
This is, again, more of a 3.5, but I felt like rounding up this time so 4 stars it is. I think part of why it took me awhile to get into this volume is because I am really not at all familiar with Moby Dick. I mean if you asked me what it was about I'd be like 'um ...some dude is trying to kill a whale?'. That's literally the extent of my knowledge on the subject. However, partway through it kind of starts focusing more on common themes shared by several different stories and how stories linked ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Literary appearances in this volume included: Frankenstein's monster, the cast of Moby Dick, Sindbad the Sailor, Baron Munchausen, Babar, Pinocchio, the Wind in the Willows, Piglet (from Winnie the Pooh), and Jonah. There were probably more that I didn't recognize.

The world continues to be fleshed out interestingly. Tom continues coming to accept who he is and what he is destined for. Big Ideas are further explored, and cool weird things keep happening.

One of my favorite things about the series
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This volume took the series to another level. The interplay between Moby Dick, the One Thousand And One Nights stories and Thomas Hobbes Leviathan was absolute genius. Tommy finally comes into his power, at least the understanding of it. And as it was written, he has to come into his glory alone. It's cool see him try to figure out things on his own, without the annoying, can't seem to catch up Savoy, and Lizzie, who's always disappearing or running away. Wilson, though doesn't come out in a sym ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
One hand I was impressed with Thomas Hobbs' Leviathan references and weary with the Moby Dick ones. The series is extremely entertaining but my issue still persists: it isn't clean. There are many non-linear graphic novels out there that maintains hygiene while dealing with multiple perspectives, stand alone one shots and self referential meta. Unwritten isn't one of them.
Not yet at least.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics, meta, vertigo
Still enjoying this. The leviathan concept is interesting and complicated, but well-told. Finally some characters that move me have appeared - but unfortunately they are cannon fodder, as a two-bit thug manipulates and destroys the innocence of every talking animal character from multiple worlds. I feel for THEM, at least. I'm not certain how that's going to tie back in - or why talking animals are shunted away from other literature and its crossovers from reality altogether. At least in Fables ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
First, let me just say :whale penis. I saw it, I knew what it was, and hahaha, yes, let's all have a laugh that you put it in your book.

Now that that's out of the this book, we start learning more about Wilson Taylor's plan for his son Tommy & how far back it goes. Let's just say that while Wilson Taylor doesn't appear to be outright evil, he's not above playing dirty to thwart his enemy's goals. The cabal has undergone new management and have brought a 'neutral party' in to try to dea
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great scenes, exciting plot and side story and horrible pseudo-philosophy. But well, still a great read.
Liz B
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This series.

So maybe the things I love are things that are true for all of these comic book series things. I wouldn't know. This series has been such a gracefully suspenseful yet satisfying series of revelations--plot twists and images that eventually make sense, soon enough that you remember, but eventually enough that you have to live in confusion for a while.

Some people probably got it way before I did--I'm not really one for philosophy. But then I got it, and the revelation was both powerfu
Thomas Hettich
May 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
As with the last volume, I couldn’t immediately derive any rewarding meaning from this book. I normally read a few reviews to see what I might be missing and most reviews cover the obvious story, which in this volume is essentially Tommy looking for "the source”. Some mention that Carey is exploring “big ideas”, but fail to elaborate on what these “big ideas” are. Others see a continuation of the same theme now for four volumes in a row and would wish for the series to wrap up. So either it is s ...more
Scott Lee
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent volume! Granted, I am just the type of reader Carey is writing for, a graduate student in English (i.e. one conversant with and actively reading in established classic literature) who still buys and reads comic books in great numbers (a reader who has a great love for the romance [as a genre] as opposed to the novel [as a genre]).

In volume four we learn the source of Wilson (and Tom) Taylor's power, and, at least it seems, by extension the power of this cabal that seeks to con
Chris Witt
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Leviathan story line felt a little flat to me. It has moments that I've experienced earlier in the series where I think "Wow, this is fantastic writing." Occasionally, Carey has a turn of phrase or dialogue that makes you set the book down in your lap for a minute so you can roll it around in your head for a while and try to mentally digest it.

Unfortunately, those moments were fewer and farther between than they had been in prior issues. For most of this collection I found myself just not dr
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
like a few other comics, for years the buzz never let up about "The Unwritten". i picked up the first issue, but wasn't into it. i picked up this trade hoping to get hooked. and it is inspired and inspiring. gorgeous illustration. its main attraction for me being a story of a storyverse. at its best it reminds me of borges. but, just like with the single issues, i remain out of the loop of the larger plot, so it drags a lot too. guess i just have to decide if i want to read all the trades in seq ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Just when this series was really getting good in the previous volume, we're back to "what the heck is going on here?" territory, especially in the last issue in this collection, a return to the foul-mouthed talking animals that made an appearance earlier on. It's interesting, but I want things to move along more clearly. What is really up with that rotten rabbit? I like the journey up the stairs, but what is that all about? And, who was that Scottish guy in the whale's belly? The others were all ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I get the feeling that I may have to binge read the Unwritten trades I have to get back to the metafictional feel that this series had for me in the first three volumes (which were pretty good). After reading this volume I can't decide if the problem is Mike Carey's writing to trade, or DC/Vertigo for releasing such a thin trade. This is a very small chunk of story, and I think both parties could learn from Scott Snyder (American Vampire) and Bill Willingham (Fables) and give readers more story ...more
Michael Larson
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another excellent entry in one of the best comics currently out there. The basic plot of this series- 'Guy finding out about his secret past as the star of a series of young adult fantasy novels'- would be enough to sustain an interesting comic, but Mike Carey uses it to explore the entirety of literature and storytelling throughout history, from Twitter to 'Moby Dick'. The art is grounded in vibrant realism, even as it expresses everything from various literary universes, evil wizards, and the ...more
Callie *Fights Censorship*
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Kind of disappointed with this one. This volume is kind of broken into chapters some of which are only a page or two, most are only three or four. While these chapters made the book a fast read, it also made the story feel somewhat disjointed. Also, I feel like the story is being revealed too slowly, I need more action. I’m waiting for our main character, Tom, to do something. I feel like he is just reacting, being pushed and pulled by outside forces, I get the reluctant hero aspect, but this is ...more
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really do enjoy this series--despite the art. Most of the time, if I dislike the art, it takes a BIG push for me to get into the story. And I'm sorry, Peter Gross, but your style is simply not for me.

However, what this comic lacks in art, the story is such an amazingly fun and creative face-melter that you can't help but fall in love with the premise--especially if you are a lover of books and stories in general.

These are fantastic reads, but of course, you NEED to start at the beginning, wher
Nick Kives
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
I think I am giving it this in more comparison to the previous book(s). This one got back to exploring more literature like the first two. The only complaint i have about this is that the last chapter just comes out of nowhere and seems to have nothing at all to do with the book or even series for that matter. It looked like it more belong with the Fables series than this one.
Roman Colombo
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vertigo
This series continues to be amazing. It's one of the most original stories, and yet is entirely dependent on old stories. I love where it is going and can't wait to read the next volume. And that one-shot at the end. Wow.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Far-reaching and luminous!
Here is the reality of fictional fantasy.
Michelle Morrell
A transitional volume, not too much happens to move the story forward. Tommy discovers some of the rules and magic of the story, and finds himself trapped in Moby Dick.
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
This series just isn't for me. Only liked the Paul Bruckner rabbit story at the end.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, fiction, m
This is where things start to really get good.
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actually made me want to give Moby Dick another shot. 😂🐳
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fourth book in the Unrwitten Series opens as a speculative homage to Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Trio of Lizzie, Richie and Tom are now facing new character developments. Lizzie has given up her over emotional conditioning, Richie is becoming a vampire and Tom at last is realising the power stories hold, and dangerous influence of cabal.

Finally the story has found its playground. All the clues, the plots and the literary trivia are slowly connecting. Tom is transported to Moby Dick the story wh
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storyli

Other books in the series

The Unwritten (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 5: On to Genesis
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 10: War Stories
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 11: Apocalypse

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