Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Michael Dialynas
Published by Boom! Studios
Release Date: July 02, 2014
Seriously…..WHAT IS THIS PLACE?
So first things first, those of you who have not been collecting and reading The Woods thus far, big mistake. HUGE. Go buy it. Now. James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas are coming out extremely strong with this title and it has become one of the most highly anticipated items on my pull list. An expert blend of Sci-Fi and horror, the story is centered on a Milwaukee high school which is mysteriously transported to “the Woods”, a dark, forest like region on an alien planet.
Aside from the underlying terror of being thrust into a dark unknown planet with limited food and water supply, the school is almost immediately attacked by a terrifying alien creature, resulting in one student fatality and sending both faculty and students alike into sheer panic. A group of 6 students with “Breakfast Club” style identities (the Screwup, the Wall Flower, the Lunatic, the Genius, the Control Freak and the Wimp), led by Adrian the Genius, break free from the school and set off into the formidable woods on a mission to figure out where they are and why they are there.
At the end of the second issue, the school’s Principal Beaumont (being coerced by a fairly suspicious Coach Clay) decides to eliminate the imminent power struggle between faculty and students by disbanding the student council, reigning the students in (at times using force) and wielding his power in a dictator like fashion, giving this thread of the story a dark, “Morning Glories” type of vibe. The six students who have left to brave the Woods have adopted a new companion in a small, adorable alien named DOCTOR ROBOT (who looks just like my dog, btw!) and have just met an extremely large and terrifying bearlike alien creature.
Issue three opens with Beaumont giving an impassioned speech declaring his intention to keep the school safe at all costs and warning the students of the dangers involved in deviating from his orders. We are, however, beginning to see some dissension in the ranks in students, first with Maria and her boyfriend, who is savvy to the involvement of Coach Clay in the school’s controversial new order. Our six stragglers narrowly escape the terrifying bear creature, but are immediately met with a new set of complications when Calder the Lunatic’s arm begins to swell and fester in reaction to a bite and the group begins to develop their own power struggle between Adrian and Sanami, the Control Freak.
What is so great about this title is how relatable the characters, both young and old, remain throughout all of these scary and seemingly impossible circumstances. Every interaction is completely believable. The action is intense, gripping and at times downright scary! Most importantly, Tynion keeps you wanting MORE. As always, this latest installment ends with an amazing cliffhanger, furthering the mystery of the Woods. Now, for me, the art is a deal breaker with almost everything that I read. Dialynas’ work is absolutely stunning and sets the perfect tone for the story, creating a dark labyrinth of mystery and terror. Also….Doctor Robot!!! The three covers so far have been absolutely stunning and that is also thanks to Josan Gonzalez, who is a master of crafting atmosphere with his beautiful colors. So…you get it. This book is amazing. Go buy it. Now.
Creative team and Doctor Robot!