By now it should be obvious as to what’s happening in the latest arc of The Woods, in which writer James Tynion and artist Michael Dialynas are taking individual characters and looking at who they were before arriving on the alien moon. In doing so they change the character before our eyes and it’s such a great storytelling device. This issue focuses on Ben who has definitely been the most under developed character of the series, but like the last two issues the story breaks Ben down before our eyes. In doing so not only does he become a fleshed out character, but then he also grows and changes at the very same time.
The story opens back on earth and we meet Ben’s father. While they’re driving Ben’s dad is talking to his older sister who is getting married. Through their dialogue and Ben’s dad’s comments later, we learn that Ben’s sister is also gay. Oh and if you haven’t figured out that Ben’s gay then you’re not really paying attention to the story. Unlike Ben’s sister, Ben hasn’t told his parents and as such he’s lured a friend into going to the school play as his pretend date. She’s very shocked since she knows that Ben likes Isaac and is trying to help him talk to him and Ben didn't tell her anything about his plan.
I really don’t want to say anything else about the story in specifics, but there is a pretty big development that is sure to change the course of the story in the very near future. Also our trio riding the tiger/bear thing… awesome! Just awesome.
Now with the other two issues in this arc I was hard pressed to pick a favorite character. With Ben though that isn’t the case, but it’s only because he hasn’t really been a character up until this issue. I do enjoy his presence in the story more because of the growth and emotional strength that he develops in this issue. Now there’s potential for him to become a favorite rather than the seemingly mandatory wallflower that he was before.
What really sells Ben’s struggle and emotions is of course Dialynas’ artwork. Being that Ben is the wallflower it makes his emotions subtle and yet transparent and that’s what Dialynas does with the artwork. When Ben’s dad says that he breathed a sigh of relief when he learned of his date with a girl, you could see the pain and shame on Ben’s face. Later when Ben is talking to himself you again see the range of emotions that he’s going through and Dialynas captures them all wonderfully.
If there’s one thing I learned in the last issue it’s don’t get attached to animals with adorable hats and cute names. That said I really hope they name that tiger/bear thing they’re riding because I kind of love the idea of them having it. None of what I just said is important to the review, I just wanted it noted for all to hear it.
Who will be the focus of the next issue? I’m sure I could look at the solicits and find out, but I really like being surprised. I was surprised by this issue for sure. As I said, Ben was severely underdeveloped, but now he’s a contender and definitely a character I want to see more of. That’s fantastic storytelling to turn a character like that around in just one issue. If you still haven’t checked out The Woods, then you’re only hurting yourself.
Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Michael Dialynas Colorist: Josan Gonzalez Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/05/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital