Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tom Strong Book Four Hardcover Review

Tom Strong Vol. 4
DC Comics - America's Best Comics
160 pages
$24.95 (2004) Hardcover
$17.99 (2004) Trade Paperback
$39.99 (2010) Deluxe Hardcover Vol. 2
ISBN 9781401205720

Contributors: Alan Moore, Peter Hogan, Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, John Paul Leon, and Dave Stewart

Reprints: Tom Strong #20-25

Synopsis: Tom Strong is the science-hero champion of Millennium City and has been for the past 100 years. His life is filled with constant daring adventures and the bold tales chronicled in this collection include:
  • Three-part story
    • "How Tom Stone Got Started: Chapter One" - a woman infiltrates the Stronghold late at night and is stopped for questioning by Tom Strong.  She recounts a tale where historical events took a decidedly different turn. In her story Susan Strong pauses for a moment before boarding the ship with her husband Sinclair bound for the island of Attabar Teru. Sinclair perishes in the fateful shipwreck instead of the ship hand, Tomas. Susan and Tomas fall in love, have a child, and name him Tomas. When Tomas is a young man he leaves the island to visit Millennium City and make a name for himself. He soon encounters Paul Saveen and the two spark up a friendship instead of bitter rivalry.  The natural progression of events continues to veer away from Tom Strong's familiar world 
    • "How Tom Stone Got Started: Chapter Two - Strongmen in Silvertime" - the impossible tale of the mysterious woman continues as the Stone/Saveen team battle various villains over the years. In this version the two heroes manage to reform evil-doers and soon the Strongmen of America group is born. Susan Stone visits Fingel Parallax and using his time machine travels back to a small shipping dock. Meanwhile the Strongmen meet Tom Strange on Terra Obscura and rescue his parallel earth from the devastating fate it suffered in Tom Strong's reality. In 1989 Fingel Parallax and his time machine are destroyed - no time travel will ever be possible again. The world of Tom Stone seems like a perfect utopia, but what could possibly have gone wrong?
    • "How Tom Stone Got Started: Chapter Three - Crisis in Infinite Hearts" - the bizarre tale of the unknown female intruder continues as Tom Stone betrays his best friend's trust while Paul Saveen explores the multiverse. Paul stumbles upon Funnyland and witnesses a much different dynamic between Warren Strong/Basil Saveen. The seed of doubt is planted and he soon discovers the truth - Tom Stone has betrayed him! Former friends become bitter enemies and the Strongmen are torn apart. Tom's parents side with him and Susan Stone slips between dimensions. Her bitter tale ends just as the battle follows her and Tom Strong must come face-to-face with Tom Stone! 
  •  "Moonday" - Svetlana X enlists Tom's help to find her husband Dimitri who is lost on the moon's surface. Tom recounts a tale where he encountered a group of bat-people living in underground caverns. Tesla and the Salamander accompany them, but Val Var Garm disappears. What really happened to Tom during his captivity all those years ago and can it save Dimitri's life?
  • "Snow Queen" - Greta Gabriel, long thought killed by Dr. Permafrost, resurfaces as an ice queen. She must come to terms with her new condition and Tom's life
  • "Tom Strong's Pal - Wally Willoughby" - young Wally visits Millennium City to get a picture taken with his hero Tom Strong. Incredibly bad and impossible things continue happening along Wally's route. It soon becomes clear there is more to Wally than meets the eye and Tom may be forced to become 'pals'
Pros: Moore's writing, alternate world of Tom Stone was really interesting, more Svetlana X!

Cons: Guest story by Geoff Johns was pretty terrible, no sketchbook, higher price continues for softcover collection from last volume's increase (thankfully more pages though)

Mike Tells It Straight: Full-length stories continue with an ambitious multi-part alternate universe tale anchoring this fourth volume. Chris Sprouse takes a break with Jerry Ordway filling in for Tom Stone's tragic story, then Moore is absent for the last three issues. Peter Hogan nails the feel of the book, but Geoff Johns misses it. This volume really outshines the previous two based on the twists in the Tom Stone tale.

TO BUY and Recommendations: