As the first collected edition of Unfollow hits comic book stores this week, the high concept behind DC/Vertigo's social media thriller threatens to overshadow the comic itself.
In large part, Unfollow works because writer Rob Williams leans into the sticky parts of the series' DNA including tongue-in-cheek references to Willy Wonka's golden tickets while steering the larger tale in another direction.
Unfollow begins with Larry Ferrell, bazillionaire founder of social media empire Headspace, choosing 140 users at random to inherit his fortune upon his death.
Most of this first collection follows prizewinner Dave, an average young guy from St. Louis, Missouri, as his increasing paranoia over his part of the Ferrell fortune leads to tragedy, even without outside influence.
While there is murder, the focus is on those left behind—those who have theoretically benefited from Ferrell's gift and stand to be protected by aforementioned God-whisperer Deacon or inspired by self-appointed leader Akira.
Other prizewinners include a BBC journalist made suicidal by what she witnessed in Tehran, a humble British accountant, and a cynical socialite who might be the smartest character in 140 Characters.