Well this issue solidified my two favorite characters of the series. I was already leaning heavily towards Karen, but I wasn’t all in on Sanami. After this issue though, I think these girls stole the show and have moved into “breakout character” territory. I’m sure that won’t stick because the next issue is likely to rotate and make another character someone else’s favorite, but that’s why The Woods is one of BOOM!’s top titles. The issue takes a different approach and actually starts one year in the past. Usually I would be skeptical of this, but with this series it was clearly about to reveal some information that would be important to the story. And it was, but it’s spread throughout the issue which is not only enjoyable, but elevates the issue.
It starts with Karen selling tickets to the school play… well she’s at the table to sell them, but she’s sleeping. That is until Maria drops a stack of books by her head and startles her. Maria rips into Karen instantly and this goes on for a second until the Principal and Sanami’s parents stop by to talk to her and ask if she’s seen Sanami. Maria doesn’t know where she is, but they don’t think to ask Karen. It’s pretty clear that Sanami’s parents don’t like Karen and she doesn’t think to highly of them. Maria offers to help, but the Principal says it’s a matter for adults, which is likely the seed that sets off Maria later. This story continues as we learn a lot about Maria who is no longer a bit player and a lot more about the awesome friendship between Sanami and Karen. In a way it explains why Sanami was pissed at Karen in the beginning because more than likely she was worried about losing her friend and Karen didn’t realize it and likely still doesn’t.
On the alien moon we find Sanami begin dragged by a bird dinosaur looking thing. Our hunters reveal themselves and one looks like an American Revolution era dude, possibly a Viking and another dude that looked Robin Hood esq. They’re taking the three kids with them, but they’re aware Karen and the others watching them from behind. Neither party approaches making it interesting to see who will make the first move.
This comic is the perfect marriage of story and art. I was never big into James Tynion’s writing before, but on this series he’s firing on all cylinders. This backstory was honestly kind of risky. Sure we’ve cut to the past a little before, but this issue was pretty much half and half. It was a solid start to the second arc of the series, but I just can’t see it ending anytime soon which makes it rewarding. Tynion’s dialogue for Karen, Maria and Sanami was some of the best of the series and delved deeper into all three character’s personalities.
In my humble opinion there would be no Woods without Michael Dialynas. The artwork oozes personality in the best possibly way. Even Dr. Robot has personality as he nervously chews on Karen’s hair. Dialynas bounces between the two timelines flawlessly and drives home the fact that he’s telling as much of the story with the visuals as the dialogue. Dialynas is so skilled that you really don’t even register where the art and writing begin or end.
I don’t think I’ve talked about Josan Gonzalez’s coloring yet in a review, which is strange since I love the coloring for this series. Particularly with this issue he too handles the bounce back and forth between the past and the present quite well; mostly because the alien moon has those wonderful pink and green hues to them. Gonzalez is a huge part of the success of the art and the series.
Frankly if you’re not reading The Woods then you need to drop a title and pick it up. The first volume trade is out at the same time so you can catch up this week and it’s worth it. This is in the top three of titles that BOOM! Is publishing so don’t let it pass you by, you’ll only regret it when its two years into the story and everyone won’t stop talking about it.
Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Michael Dialynas Colorist: Josan Gonzalez Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/3/14