Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: Simon Gane
“The Truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
- Oscar Wilde The Importance of Being Earnest
How do you build on the social media fame that your participation in a globally televised game has garnered you once you’ve been removed from the board? In a cyber-world where your words live on forever, what truly defines “life after death?” Well if you’re social media philosopher, artist and reported cyber-messiah Akira, you release an app that counts down to the moment that you reveal the secrets of the afterlife.
Gane’s artwork masterfully conveys the anticipatory excitement of Akira’s over eight million followers gathering all over the world to witness the launch of the Akira app and the answers that he promises from beyond the grave. As the clock counts down across the globe, the reader is put into the same position as everyone else. We anticipate what “truth” Akira has to offer and what these revelations mean for the remaining 140 and the Ferrell fortune. We also see the circumstances that led to Akira’s worldwide fame and they are not as heroic as the media made them out to be. His backstory shows a character that is struggling with his beliefs while also being tragically ruled by his ambition.
Williams’ subtlety gives us a welcome break from some of the disjointed action that can take the reader out of the overall story. The story is more subdued than some of the previous issues with a focus more on Akira and his past rather than the quest for Ferrell’s money and the depths many of the characters will go to in order to get it. Many issues of Unfollow make me ask myself questions about the world we live in and this issue, more than others, made me question both the motivations of someone who is defined by their online persona, but also the millions of people who follow him. Are our online personas a reflection of who we would like to be or are they the truth of who we really are?
Unfollow continues to pull its readers into a future not too far removed from the world we live in today and I continue to be drawn into its themes of morality and human nature. This issue had me curious about the “truth” that Akira is offering to the world and what the repercussions of that truth are. If you’re a fan of the world that Williams and Dowling have created, this issue is one you need to pick up.
The creative team behind Unfollow has crafted an effectively smaller story in this issue with potentially huge repercussions in the world they’ve created. The artwork conveys the global impact that people who pursue social media fame can have and its scale is beautiful to see.