Graphic Novel/Comics Review

Tom Strong Book Four

(2005) Alan Moore, Titan Books, 19.99, hrdbk, 158pp, ISBN 1-84576-093-X


This book collects issues 20-25 of the ongoing series and features an alternate world Tom Strong, Tom Stone, who starts a super-team by joining up with Paul Saveen, Strong's enemy in his reality, with art by Jerry Ordway. Peter Hogan pens a two-part tale which resurrects Strong's old girlfriend, drawn by regular series artist Chris Sprouse, and the final tale, featuring the Strongmen of America, is written by Geoff Johns and drawn by John Paul Leon. Sadly the Hogan and Johns stories are pretty poor, and the Leon artwork doesn't particularly appeal to me, so it's up to the three-part Moore/Ordway tale to carry the book, which it does. It's a shame that Moore's work suffers so at the hands of others (though I'm willing to admit that that's a subjective impression) but, then, he's a hard act to follow. I can't recommend this volume as highly as I would have done others, but it's still worth having (and, of course, collectors and completists really have no choice).

Also available is the new hardback Tom Strong's Terrific Tales Book Two (Titan Books, 19.99, 156pp, ISBN 1-84576-104-9), by Alan Moore and Steve Moore (no relation), collecting issues 7-12 of the regular title. The best strip throughout is Steve Moore and Art Adams' Jonni Future who gets to meet her predecessor and a double of herself. Steve's Young Tom Strong progresses through his late teens to when he leaves Attabar Teru at age 21. Alan Moore contributes tales based on Little Nemo and The Wacky Races, as well as a 'Jungle Girls' tale drawn by Bruce Timm, "Millennium Memories" beautifully illustrated by Mike Kaluta, and "The Strongs" get Punk'D by Peter Bagge (which personally I could live without). As for a recommendation, I'd echo my comments above re the previous volume. Maybe wait for the paperbacks...?

Tony Chester

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