(2005) Alan Moore, Peter Hogan, Yanick Paquette and Karl Story, Titan Books, £11.99, trdpbk, 138pp, ISBN 1-845-76193-6
Terra Obscura is a spin-off series from the pages of Tom Strong and this volume collects the second 6-issue mini-series. Tom Strange lives on a duplicate Earth on the other side of the galaxy from Tom Strong's Earth. But where Strong is 'just' a super-intelligent, super-fit kinda guy, Strange is much more like your actual Super-man. And, surprise, surprise there's a Batman-like figure, who has long since become an AI, and a Green Lantern-esque figure, and a... You get the idea. So the JLA... ooops, S.M.A.S.H. are recovering from the last volume's fun and games, when a spacecraft is detected entering the solar system and it appears to be that of missing hero, Captain Future! As it nears the planet space-time anomalies start cropping up all over the system, with sometimes fatal consequences. As if that weren't enough it seems that the AI Terrorizer (the aforementioned Batmanikin) has a dastardly plan up its sleeve, er, mainframe, and Tom Strange is in terrible danger. Thrilling. As they say. So you either get what's fun about Terra Obscura or you don't. If you can't see the fun side of Jungle Girls and Teenage Sidekicks and Future and Past Versions of Heroes Kicking the Crap Out of Each Other Even Though They Must Know That They're All Good Guys, etc etc, then this is not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you know exactly where Terra Obscura is coming from, then I heartily recommend it. I have a lot of sympathy with the quote of a reviewer from Ain't It Cool News: "Somewhere along the line, I stopped reviewing Alan Moore comics. What's the point? They're all great. We should read them because they are fun and smart." I agree. So I unabashedly say that the point for me of bothering to continue to review the unreviewable is simply that I hope my own enthusiasm for the man's work, which anyway would still deserve acknowledgement in its own right, will communicate itself to whoever bothers to read them, in the hope that I'm not simply 'preaching to the converted', and so might just turn someone on to a good thing they might not otherwise have tried. Which, if I'm successful, is more than enough justification for my own existence. (Not that I feel it's necessary, or desirable, to justify my existence. No one forced you to read this ya know... Sorry. Made me grin...).
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