Undiscovered Country #11 is a sci-fi adventure comic published by Image Comics. Written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi. The colourist is Matt Wilson and the letterer is Crank!
In the last issue, the technological perfection of Unity was under attack. The Destiny Man, the monstrous villain who followed them from his own territory, launched an offensive on the city, forcing our heroes to align themselves with the creepy Dr. Jain. The leader of Unity showed off their true powers, able to turn every single person in Unity into a soldier, and every material into a weapon. Even Chang, the character recovering from an injury treated with that material, was drafted into the army. As were Marcus and the other outsiders. Repelling the enemy forces, members of the team started to feel closer to the region.
Elsewhere, Ace and Valentina have journeyed across the water to what used to be the White House. Far away from everyone and everything, the duo discovers a terrifying, decrepit looking female figure, and several small brains all waited into one system. The secret to Unity’s creativity? The minds of children.
The tone, pace, and structure of the plot within Undiscovered Country #11 is superb. This second arc could be accused of being slow, but in fact, it’s just building tension. The unsettling feeling that has been there throughout our time in Unity reaches a queasy, disturbing peak. The creepiness that was just under the service of the total perfection of the zone turns to revulsion as the reader learns the horrific ways Dr. Jain keeps maintains her powers. The slow pace increases the discomfort. It allows the reader to realize that our heroes are in serious danger, with very little chance of escape. The twist at the end of the issue hits like a punch to the stomach.
While the horror of Undiscovered Country #11 is brilliant, there is also beautifully crafted dialogue to describe it. The main characters, back together for the first time in a few issues, are faced with multiple moral questions. The zone they are in is secure and advanced but is constructed out of unfathomable evil and sacrifice. And for Marcus and Charlotte, whatever message their parents had for them may go unheard if they choose to depart.
What is fantastic about the protagonists that Soule and Snyder developed is that all of them are extremely intelligent. None of them make what could be described as stupid decisions, they calculate their actions. Marcus is a soldier, with a brilliant tactical mind. Charlotte is a doctor and scientist. Ace is a whiz kid whose knowledge about technology is unmatched. Valentina is an inquisitive journalist. Both Janet and Chang are shrewd negotiators who know how to make a deal. And whilst they have had to make difficult decisions previously, this is a totally different situation. Each character has a different perspective, and results in an emotional but considered discussion.
Dr. Jain is a fantastic villain. She is frightening now only because of how powerful she is, but also because she is completely remorseless in her actions. While the idea of using the brains of infants is abhorrent to Ace and Valentina, she is nonchalant and carefree. She is devoted to constant technological innovation and the protection of her zone. She does not consider any of the outsiders as threats. After all, what exactly can they do against a being who has complete control over her domain?
Camuncoli and Grassi continue to be phenomenal together on art. Aunty has a lot of empty space due to the sheer amount of white, but the detail in the foreground is astounding. The true form of Dr. Jain is horrifying. She is withered and wrinkled, with skin pulled tight over her skull. This is Dr. Jain after countless decades, encased in a cocoon. Her tendrils, the first thing we saw of her in this arc, is reminiscent of a spider, and our adventurers are in the middle of her web. The room where her true form resides is where the brains are stored. The tiny brains, misshapen and crudely drawn, hooked up to computer wires, are one of the scariest images in this series so far.
One scene, where Dr. Jain is regaling the travellers with a story regarding the history of technology in America, has really intriguing art. Jain brings up a screen, featuring faux classic images of technology. The pictures are in black in white and give the impression of a vintage photograph. The art style is slightly different than that of the “real world,” and the colours within the frame added by Wilson are influential in creating this illusion. While it is only a small part of Undiscovered Country #11, it shows the brilliant attention to detail within this series by every single creator involved.
Wilson’s colours are stunning in the entire issue, as well. Unity is almost entirely a pristine white. But as Dr. Jain uses her tendrils, the lines themselves seem to glow blue. And the tips of them have red streaks that slowly fade into the much more common white. Within the secret lair itself, these are the only colours used aside from the shades used for Ace and Valentina. And yet Wilson is able to instill a creepy atmosphere to the room.
There is a lot of dialogue in Undiscovered Country #11, but Crank! keeps all of the word balloons effortless to follow and read. The flow of the issue never stutters, which could have been possible if the placing of the word balloons were overpowering. But their layout in the issue is easily manageable.
Undiscovered Country #11 is a contender for the best issue yet. Dr. Jain’s natural form is creepy and unsettling. The method Unity uses to survive makes the Destiny Man look kind in comparison. The dialogue Soule and Snyder crafted shows the great depth of the main characters. There are also numerous parallels to what happens within our own world. Camuncoli, Grassi, and Wilson have transformed a city that was strangely beautiful on first glance into a place of terror. The creative team is magnificent at what they do and are only getting better.
Undiscovered Country #11 is available where comics are sold.
Undiscovered Country #11
Undiscovered Country #11 is a contender for the best issue yet. The creative team is magnificent at what they do and are only getting better.