Another Amazing Forest is here which means we’re in store for a surprise indeed. Who knows what you’ll get with the four stories drawn by entirely new artists but written from the same two minds that delivered the last four issues. Like rolling the dice there’s no telling what we’re in store for, but is it good?
Amazing Forest #5 (IDW Publishing)
We ran an exclusive preview a few days ago. As you can see, only one of the stories is highlighted, but the story contains four total about wish goblins, robots, a melting snowman and a villain that conquers the world! Sounds like a good mix.
Why does this book matter?
Ulises Fariñas and Erick Freitas have delivered nearly every issue of this series with successful short stories that are funny, scary, dramatic, and sometiems all three at once. I could count on one hand the stories I didn’t care for which makes for good odds of liking most of the stories in each issue.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with a story drawn by Jack Forbes about a supervillain who comes to Earth and quickly conquers it. He only lets one superhero who’s a lot like Superman live to rub it in the human’s faces and quickly befriends him–in fact, it’s his only friend. The supervillain isn’t enjoying the tedious task of keeping the humans alive, but still wants their favor. Fariñas and Freitas manage to make the character sympathetic, yet we know all too well he’s an awful dictator. This story reads like a fun elseworlds tale from the big two, but has a surprising twist they could never pull off. The art has the same effect.
Somehow they’ve made this evil bastard sympathetic.
The second story is all about the wish goblin and it’s drawn by Teylor Smirl. This story is about a little boy whose parents always fight, but a wish goblin appears to solve his problem. It’s disturbing and weird with a twist as well. Smirl draws one hell of a grotesque goblin. It’s a story that’s very effective at creeping you out.
The third story is also a bit creepy, about a snowman who talks to a boy and befriends him. Unfortunately though the snowman stinks at telling jokes and the boy grows tired of him. He eventually sticks his head in the freezer and…let’s just say there’s another twist in this story too. Alison Wight draws this one with a kids book feel that’s appropriate.
The final story continues the trend of a creepy twist ending about a robot who keeps remembering his wife. It’s a malfunction, or so we think, and the ending is actually quite haunting. Edwin Vazquez has a style of drawing that’s very different, like smudged color and ink, that gives the story an odd pop feel. It suits the story, that’s for sure.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Vazquez’s art didn’t do it for me entirely, partly because it’s hard at times to gauge what you’re looking at, but I think it got in the way of telling a solid story. A minor gripe that some folks may not agree with.
The snowman story isn’t bad per se, but it’s a very one off tale that comes with a wallop of a twist that doesn’t feel earned. Where did the snowman get these powers?!
Is It Good?
Yet another great collection of shorts that prove Fariñas and Freitas are at the top of their game. Most if not all of these stories read as if they need a short film to go with them; they’re that clever and good.