Tom Strong was a guilty pleasure of mine that sadly went away in 2006. Originally written by Alan Moore, the series captures the wonder of science and the nostalgia of Golden Age comics. Thankfully, Vertigo has picked up the property to deliver new stories of our man Strong, although they aren’t written or even sanctioned by Alan Moore. It does have the original artist, Chris Sprouse on board though, so…is it good?
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1 (of 6) (Vertigo)
When an old series gets a new lease on life there are two things I look for: can it be read by new readers and if so, will old readers get enough in the first issue or will it all be introductions to characters we already know? Thankfully, there’s a good balance between both, although it does veer a bit more toward new reader friendly. Plus, writer Peter Hogan is on board, who’s written his fair share of Tom Strong comics.
A baby that can burn through your womb. Ouch.
This first issue adequately introduces all the main players as well as nails the feel of this science based team. In a lot of ways this family, headed by Tom Strong along with his wife, daughter and her husband, is how the Fantastic Four should be. They’re smart, focused and no-nonsense. It turns out Strong’s daughter is pregnant with her Fire based hubby, and the baby might just burn right through her. Strong decides the only way to save her is to acquire the magical substance that makes his alternate self so strong.
That’s a bit of the wonder I’m talking about.
This alternate self lives in a universe that gets comic books in Tom Strong’s world published about. It seems comic writers have some kind of connection to this universe so the books are actually a history. It’s a cool concept, especially when you figure Tom Strong is just like theirs and we’re just getting a bit of the history of him in comics too. The fact that these comics haven’t been published in a while erks Strong’s wife and might be a cause for concern. It’s particularly on the nose when you consider Tom Strong has been off the shelf for so long.
The lifestyles of the comic writer.
Pencils, by Chris Sprouse, are spot on, clear and nail expressions. The man knows what he’s doing. The only problem I have with this issue is that there isn’t much for him to do besides talking head moments.
Dun dunnn dunnnnn!
- Clear art
- Excellent set up
- No action to speak of
- Not enough wonder inducing moments
There’s no doubt in my mind this is going to be a great six issue series. Everything is set up nicely and the characters speak and act as they should. The only problem is, aside from the comic book aspect introduced here, there isn’t much to chew on. It’s mostly setup, so the real enjoyment won’t come for another issue at least. That said, the stakes are extremely high and there’s every reason to keep reading.
Is It Good?
Yes. If you’re into science, or a comic with some brains behind it, don’t hesitate to pick this up.