Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tom Strong Book Six Hardcover Review

Tom Strong Vol. 6
DC Comics - America's Best Comics
160 pages
$24.99 (2006) Hardcover
$17.99 (2006) Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781401211097

Contributors: Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Michael Moorcock, Jerry Ordway, Joe Casey, Ben Oliver, Steve Moore, Peter Hogan, Paul Gulacy, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Karl Story

Reprints: Tom Strong #31-36 (final issue)

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:
  • Two-part story
    • "Tom Strong and The Black Blade of the Barbary Coast - Part 1: The White Wolf's Secret" - Tom and Solomon are enlisted to help metatemporal investigator, Sir Seaton Begg. Travelling to the past they pose as pirates in order to win the confidence of Begg's archnemesis: Count Zodiac (now posing as Captain Zodiac). The good Count wishes to procure the fabled Black Blade and gain mastery over the multiverse!
    • "Tom Strong and The Black Blade of the Barbary Coast - Part 2: The Colour of Evil" - In the past Tom and Solomon accompany an armada of pirates led by Captain Zodiac on a quest to find the Black Blade. Can they possibly wrest control of the mystical artifact from the nemesis of Sir Seaton Begg?
  • "The Journey Within" - Pneuman is acting very strangely - running for mayor, starting a rock band. Tom tries to diagnose his mechanical man-servant's problem, but discovers a mystery. Tom and Solomon embark on a microscopic journey to find out: what is living in Pneuman?
  • "The Spires of Samakhara" - Tom investigates the land of Samakhara - a fictional place from a series of stories.  How can it exist and why did the Chinese government nuke it?
  • "Cold Calling" - A local jewelry exchange is robbed of precious diamonds by a pair of ice-wielding thieves. Tom suspects Greta Gabriel is involved, but hopes his old flame (now an ice-person) is innocent. Prepare for a shock ending when the new Dr. Permafrost shows up
  • "Tom Strong at the End of the World" - Promethea has triggered the end of existence and Tom Strong wades through the incredible phenomena along with the rest of the ABC heroes. He learns the answer to life's secrets as he strives one last time to be with his beloved family.  Is this really the End?
Pros: Final story of the series was excellent (what do you expect from Moore?), Paul Gulacy's art, Sprouse draws the final two tales

Cons: Moorcock's writing (seriously, more-cock? how did this guy survive past his teens?) is terrible, sub-par final set of stories leading up to the end

Mike Tells It Straight: Moore and Sprouse collaborate on the final story of Tom Strong's series. Guest artists/writers lead up to the ending with a slew of lame stories. This volume almost became my new least favorite (after volume 5), but the ending was completely worth it. If you've followed along this far then you won't be disappointed. We learn the last few startling secrets of Tom Strong's life as he gets a truly deserving finish. 

Final thoughts on the series - Tom Strong is a wholesome character with an enjoyable supporting cast. His adventures are light-hearted and interesting, but not essential reading for any well-known continuity. He's a good read due to the solid storytelling/art of Moore/Sprouse, but the constant guest writers/artists can detract from the overall experience. I'll probably pick up the two spin-offs: Tom Strong's Terrific Tales and Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom somewhere down the road, but with no sense of urgency.


TO BUY and Recommendations:
    TO BUY and Recommendations: