The first issue of The Woods didn’t disappoint. It came on strong and delivered a hell of a setup for this story in which a mid-western high school has been transported to an alien moon. Almost feels a little like Lost… in space! Sorry I couldn’t resist, but it does feel that way with a large cast of characters and the mysterious circumstances that have brought them there. The second issue begins with the teaching staff stating/recapping the events so far. It’s a great opening as we see all these adults trying to figure out what to do and really having no plan. The best part is when one of the faculty points out that they’re just teachers and no one has the skills for this ordeal. The meeting is interrupted by the student council led by Maria. Maria’s heart is in the right place, but she does suffer from the teenage mindset of “I know everything.” She has great ideas, but no tact and that makes her pretty damn annoying. Also who the hell takes student council this seriously? What the fuck is the treasurer doing during all this? “We still need $325 if we’re going to put prom on this year.” I kid, because she’s an aggravating character, but then so are the adults she’s dealing with and that’s just strong writing.
Meanwhile Sanami is looking for Karen who she snapped at earlier and suspects she’s wandered off with the others. She heads to the stage shop to find two boys wearing next to nothing and wearing body paint while sword fighting with saws. Of course this means she’s going to have to go after her which might screw over the school because Sanami has the most survival knowledge of anyone there.
In the forest we find our group sleeping or attempting to. Ben wakes up to Calder stabbing a giant fucking mosquito that was about to enjoy a feat. We get a rundown of how the campers are doing until the unexpected surprise of a forest critter in their food bag. Isaac decides to name him Doctor Robot which is strangely a great fit for the little guy.
If you feel like I’ve said too much about this issue just wait until you read it. There’s so much I’m leaving out and then there’s the joy of reading the dialogue and soaking in the artwork.
I’m going to switch things up and talk about the artwork first because Michael Dialynas is delivering some fantastic pages. We meet some random characters in this issue, but Dialynas gives them each a unique design that strangely made them familiar. It was like high school in that way, you may see someone over and over and have an idea of who they are but never really know them. The art captured that and it was impressive for it. Dialynas’ facial expressions continue to shine in this series and play a larger role in the emotion and drama of the plot. I couldn’t imagine another artist working on this series nor do I want to.
James Tynion IV’s story is better in this issue which is strange to say after how good the first issue was. This issue is just better and a lot of it has to do with the dialogue. The characters are all very believable in this series and even newly introduced characters are believable very quickly. In particular I enjoyed the coach this issue. Again Maria is annoying as shit, but it takes a skilled writer to make you feel one way or another about a character, but more skill to make you dislike a character and stick with them.
The first issue of The Woods sold out, but you should be able to grab a second print with this issue. I would recommend you do that because this series is already proving to be one of the best of the year. As long as it finishes strong there’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll be appearing on my end of the year list in a least a few categories. Basically what I’m saying is buy this issue and keep buying.
Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Michael Dialynas Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/4/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital