Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 6 (February 2014)

Hogan’s a show-off. He’s great, he does a great job here, but he’s a show-off. After a very tense opening, things gradually calm down and resolve. Sprouse and Story mostly do talking heads for the first third of the comic. Then comes this sequence with a presidential voiceover. At first it seems tedious–like Hogan’s trying to go for something obvious… but he’s not. It’s sincere and he sells it. Awesome sequence. Then there are two or three more such sequences–none of these as great as that first one but featuring some excellent art throughout. Finally, after Hogan’s got his reader … Continue reading Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 6 (February 2014)

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 5 (January 2014)

Tom Strange finally appears in the issue–which is good, since Hogan’s only got one left. Besides the opening, which features another new (or returning from a previous limited series) character, a lot of the issue is just the Toms talking. Tom Strange is set up on the moon (not sure why it was such a secret) and Tom Strong offers to help him try to figure out a cure for the plague. Then Hogan introduces the other members of Strange’s team; they’re a hodgepodge to show the smart people of all types banding together to save the species. It’s a … Continue reading Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 5 (January 2014)

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 4 (December 2013)

This issue doesn’t really have enough content to be a full issue, except Hogan has decided he wants to do a couple serious things and they’re going to be worth the cover price. And they are worth that cover price. Without spoiling, the first thing has to do with Tom Strong, the character. Hogan makes a quiet, direct statement about what makes this comic different. He sort of drops Tom and Val into the middle of The Road Warrior and finds a different result. Why? Because with Tom Strong, anything is possible. The second thing has to do with heroism … Continue reading Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 4 (December 2013)

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 3 (November 2013)

Hogan continues his leisurely, pleasant pace. Tom Strong might be the one with his name in the title but Hogan’s really having fun doing his Terra Obscura sequel. He introduces the cast from that series again, going through all their changes. He has so much fun with their interplay, the whole plague thing is in the back burner. There are some action scenes–Val, Tom’s son-in-law, spends the issue getting more and more aggravated, but Hogan’s clearly making him wait. Tom and Val are just explorers on this strange world. A strange world where Hogan and Sprouse have time to make … Continue reading Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 3 (November 2013)

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 2 (October 2013)

Whew, it’s a six issue series, not four. I was wondering what the heck Hogan at the end of the issue if he only had four. It’s a good enough issue–Tom and Val get to Terra Obscura, find it decimated by plague (or something) and hang out with a couple of the world’s science heroes–but it’s all just nicely done exposition. But Hogan’s got six issues so he’s got plenty of time. Hogan’s got a lot of amusing dialogue and a lot of touching dialogue. He could be foreshadowing big revelations to come later on with the guest stars this … Continue reading Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 2 (October 2013)

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 1 (September 2013)

So Planet of Peril turns out to be a sequel to the Terra Obscura series Hogan’s done. Those are great so I have high hopes for this one. And so far, Hogan doesn’t disappoint. He has Chris Sprouse and Karl Story on art so it’s good, but he also comes up with this great meta scene where Tom Strong tries to explain why there haven’t been Terra Obscura comics published in the last few years. It’s hard to tell if it’s a one off meta moment or if Hogan’s going to weave it in and out of the entire series. … Continue reading Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 1 (September 2013)

Tom Strong 14 (October 2001)

Moore has a great time with this issue, featuring Tom Strong and his family on an intergalactic vacation. It also shows how much Moore’s willing to change Strong to keep himself engaged. The issue is split into three stories, all set during different points in the vacation. The first story, dedicated to a sick Tom McWeeney, has Hilary Barta on art. Tom and the family (Tesla’s still a baby) are on an absurdly hostile planet. It’s Tom as a dumb husband; it’s hilarious. Sprouse and Gordon take over for the rest of the issue. The second story is Tom and … Continue reading Tom Strong 14 (October 2001)

Tom Strong 13 (July 2001)

While this issue features some incredibly cool writing from Moore (more on it in a bit), it also has amazing art. It’s a five-part story, with Sprouse and Gordon on for the prologue. Then it’s Russ Heath (doing a teenage Tom Strong), Kyle Baker (doing the bunny Tom Strong analogue) and, finally, Pete Poplaski doing the finish. Poplaski makes the whole thing feel very Golden Age and it’s simply a superior visual experience. As for Moore, he plays a lot with time travel and its effects, but he also comments briefly on the “imaginary story” genre. Tom Strong, it seems, … Continue reading Tom Strong 13 (July 2001)

Tom Strong 12 (June 2001)

Moore does a really nice job finishing up his Tom Strange two-parter, especially given how much material he brings into it. The issue opens with the two Toms unfreezing all of Terra Obscura’s heroes and introducing them. They aren’t quite analogs to popular superheroes, but it’s hard not to see Batman in the Terror, who has a kid sidekick and everyone suspects is secretly nutty. Pretty much every other modern superhero analog owes it to Moore and Tom Strong. Then there’s a brief introduction to the alternate Earth, which is fantastic. Sprouse doesn’t go crazy with it, just straightforwardly illustrating … Continue reading Tom Strong 12 (June 2001)

Tom Strong 11 (January 2001)

Moore really brings in the weight this issue. Not emotionally, but in terms of complexity. He introduces Tom Strange and Tom Strange’s whole alternate Earth. The complexity comes in with the explanation it’s not really an alternate Earth but a duplicate one, albeit with some differences, elsewhere in the galaxy. It’s hard to comprehend, which is good, because it means Moore is able to maintain the fantastical nature of the proposition. But it also means there’s a lot of exposition. The Sprouse art is excellent, but it can’t outdo the endless scientific explanations. The issue’s a little… pardon the term… … Continue reading Tom Strong 11 (January 2001)

Tom Strong 9 (September 2000)

The issue’s a family affair, with Tom, Dhalua and Tesla each getting their own story. Paul Chadwick handles the art on Tom’s story. His style mimics Sprouse quite a bit. If I hadn’t seen Chadwick’s name, I’d have no idea. It’s a nice little story, with Moore mixing jungle adventure with positivist sci-fi. It ends a little fast though. Dhalua has a good flashback story. Mostly Moore is just filling in her backstory, rounding the character. He does an exceptional job with the character, making her more distinct than Tom. Sprouse and Gordon do well with the constrained setting. They … Continue reading Tom Strong 9 (September 2000)

Tom Strong 8 (July 2000)

There’s no feature this issue, just three short stories. The first, with art by Alan Weiss, is a throwback to “The Twilight Zone” as Tom and Solomon find themselves in the Old West. All the residents have three eyes, eat weird things and no longer identify colors with the same words. It’s a fast little story, with a nice resolution, but Moore really doesn’t explore all the implications. I guess that lack is the drawback–Moore’s ideas, even little ones, are just too strong. The second story is an adventure for some of the Strongmen of America, with Chris Sprouse and … Continue reading Tom Strong 8 (July 2000)

Tom Strong 7 (April 2000)

Moore finishes the story with an unexpected conclusion, one he hadn’t hinted at earlier and should have. Tom Strong’s birthday was coming up. It ends at his birthday party (and the Millennium City Y2K party). It’s a great scene, but it’s sort of tacked on. This issue is significant for one major reason. Moore talks a lot about race. Sure, it’s in the extremes of Tom Strong having a bastard son with a Nazi superwoman, but Moore doesn’t flinch when putting those two up against Tom’s black wife and his mixed daughter. Most mainstream comic books completely avoid the discussion … Continue reading Tom Strong 7 (April 2000)

Tom Strong 6 (February 2000)

It’s appropriate Gibbons draws the flashback story here, given the villain–Saveen–reminds a great deal of the villains in Watchmen. Moore doesn’t suggest a lot of superheroes in Tom Strong, it’s all a lot more science-based. The issue is, for a large part, a walk through Tom Strong’s past. Saveen’s set up a little museum to him and narrates the historical importance of the items. As a storytelling device, it definitely works as it focuses the attention on Tom’s reactions, which a one or two panel flashback wouldn’t. But it pales compared to the flashback story–Moore unintentionally sabotages it. The flashback … Continue reading Tom Strong 6 (February 2000)

Tom Strong 5 (December 1999)

The backup this issue is from Jerry Ordway, so the art’s good. It’s not really a backup, it’s more an aside to give the reader some more information. But Moore and Ordway present it as a fifties or sixties sci-fi comic, albeit with better dialogue. Tom Strong gives Moore a nice opportunity to do revisionist Golden Age and Silver Age stories (presumably the point) while still keeping modern. It’s impressive how, in this single issue, he’s able to introduce a villain, go through the history with the villain, and then give him a sendoff. Moore didn’t do a lot of … Continue reading Tom Strong 5 (December 1999)

Tom Strong 4 (October 1999)

It’s the first two-parter (or multi-part, I have no idea) story. I sort of figured Moore would do Tom Strong as done-in-ones, just because it fits. Though he does get to a good hard cliffhanger–I’m going to start using the terms hard and soft cliffhanger, sort of like hard sci-fi–I just wish I hadn’t been expecting a wrap-up. I shouldn’t have been. There’s a flashback story in here–unfortunately with art from Art Adams–and so there wouldn’t be enough space. Moore also changes up what he did last issue in terms of narration. There’s no first-person Tom Strong narration here. It’s … Continue reading Tom Strong 4 (October 1999)

Tom Strong 3 (August 1999)

Tom Strong is the main character this issue, the third in the series, Tom Strong, and the first issue where he is that main character. Moore even does a bunch of first person narration, which gives the reader the first insight into him. The story is fairly straightforward (especially for a Tom Strong). Aztecs from another dimension are about to take over the planet and it’s up to Tom Strong to save the world. And he does, of course. Moore presents him as a very thoughtful protagonist—this issue is an example of some of the best first person comic book … Continue reading Tom Strong 3 (August 1999)

Tom Strong 2 (July 1999)

It’s the second issue and Moore’s confident enough he has the reader’s attention he doesn’t even bring Tom Strong in until the last five or six pages. And then it’s as something of a deus ex machina. It’s interesting how in the present action, Tom Strong is more thoughtful, when ten years before (in 1987), he’s more gung ho to do the action hero route. Knowing Moore there’s probably something to the difference. Anyway, it’s another fine issue. Moore does a lot of jokes this issue (not even counting the bickering between Solomon and Pneuman). He’s got two goofball teenage … Continue reading Tom Strong 2 (July 1999)