June 14th, 2011

reviews

reviews: more tom strong

Last week I suffered a huge disappointment. Last week I got tired of waiting for volume three of the deluxe edition of Tom Strong and bought the volumes 5 and 6 of the original trade paperbacks, and when they arrived I discovered why no one's been making noise about the delay of the deluxe edition. In two words: they're bad. They're so bad, I'm not even going to bother linking to them. But I will go through and rate all the stories, just because...

#26: The Day Tom Strong Renegotiated the Friendly Skies - Yargh. Art is creepy, story is kind of boring, Tom has inexplicable linguistic skills, everyone seems slightly OOC. Or not so slightly. To quote Tesla from the end of it: "I didn't need to know this!"
#27: Jenny Panic & the Bible of Dreams - I almost liked this one, but I couldn't quite figure out what was going on and the art was almost unbearable. Which is a pity, because I thought the one guest character was kind of interesting.
#28: I, Pneuman - Cute wordplay on I, Robot-- No, wait, I don't mean cute, I mean utterly predictable. The art was decent, but the story was rubbish. This take on Pneuman doesn't jive with his portrayal up to this point.
#29 & 30: The Terrible True Life of Tom Strong - The one story in volume 5 that I actually sort of enjoyed. The art wasn't great, but didn't make my eyes hurt, and the story kind of felt like an actual Tom Strong story, especially the opening and closing as he interacts with his family.
#31 & 32: Tom Strong and the Black Blade of the Barbary Coast - It makes no sense. None of it. *stabs art*
#33: The Journey Within - I actually really like the art on this one, so it's a shame the story is so utterly, utterly blah.
#34: Tom Strong and the Spires of Samakhara - NO. I read this one and wish I hadn't. I don't know who the protagonist is supposed to be, but he sure isn't Tom Strong. *stabs art some more*
#35: Cold Calling - Okay, so this one story is why I bought these two volumes and waded through all the icky art and questionable storytelling. It's the conclusion to the not-quite-a-cliff-hanger of an ending to volume 2 of the deluxe edition, and features the same writer/artist combo as Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom. In other words: shiny! And now that I've reviewed all the other stories in these two volumes, this story is probably the only one I'll come back to in the future.
#36: Tom Strong at the End of the World - Including this one, even through it's the only one in the bunch by the creators of Tom Strong. Maybe I would appreciate it more if I was familiar with the series it's a crossover with, but I mostly just don't care. The artwork's pretty nifty, but I can understand why it was retconned/undone by the events in Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom.

So. Will I buy volume 3 for the deluxe edition if it ever comes out? Maybe. The deluxe editions include behind-the-scenes pages, and I might appreciate some of the stories better after reading about the thought-processes of the writers and artists, but I suspect that the covers for the individual stories would remain the best part of the collection. Which isn't exactly a compelling reason to upgrade.

Going through this makes me really glad that the writer/artist combo for Astro City has remained the same--consistency, when paired with quality, is nothing to sneeze at.