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The Woods Vol. 1 Paperback – September 23, 2014
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About the Author
James Tynion IV got his start in the pages of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s acclaimed run on Batman at DC Comics in early 2012, where he co-wrote the backup stories for the best-selling Court of Owls and Death of the Family storylines. He has since written stories for Detective Comics, as well as writing the ongoing series Talon, and Red Hood and the Outlaws. He lives and writes in New York City, and is consistently amazed that people are actually letting him work on comic books professionally. He alternates between taking in the most grisly horror media he can get his hands on, and trying not to get choked up while listening to musical theater soundtracks. You can find him on Twitter @JamesTheFourth, or on his Tumblr.
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Top Customer Reviews
Back at the school, the characters are pretty thin, the conflict is pretty predictable, and it's not clear if the part of the story set there is ever going to get interesting or head in original directions. This TP collects the first four issues of this series, (there are already two more Volumes out there), so maybe the school story will eventually become engaging.
But as to the gang in the woods, that aspect of the tale moves along nicely. We have a nerdy guy who seems to know more than the others about what's going on. We have a doofus, a sidekick type, a strong silent guy, and a girl who switches between angsty and kickbutt. A second girl, who has outdoor and survival skills, also joins the team. So far they all play fairly predictable roles, but there are suggestions that each might develop into a more complex or at least more interesting character. Angsty conflict is kept to a minimum, which is a relief.
There is some humor, and some graphic violence. There are some twists and turns and some "Lost"-style moments of disorientation and surprise. The dialogue follows a middle ground - it isn't sappy but it isn't particularly sharp or memorable. The most encouraging sign is that the things the gang encounters in the woods are interesting and unpredictable, and they hint at a deeper and more compelling mystery to be developed in later issues.
The upshot for me was that this was interesting, well-intentioned, and well-executed enough for me to be invested in finding out what happens next. That's pretty good for a Volume 1. Older and adult readers might not be so patient, but newer and younger readers might find this to be just right.
(Please note that I found this book while browsing the local library's Kindle books, and downloaded it for free. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
There are a few different groups that form in the aftermath of the sudden move. One goes out to explore the world around them, while the others try to create a semblance of order within the school building. This split drives the plot of the book, with the story jumping back and forth between these two sides.
Some of what happens implies that there is a deeper story about why this school was chosen, if indeed it was. The character personalities felt distinguishable from one another, though they were somewhat shallow at times. The book is a little shorter than most and could have used the extra space to develop these out a bit more. For what is in the book, I think the characters are done well. I look forward to seeing what happens with them.
One thing that kind of bugged me is how quickly things turn sour. It is literally within a day that a tyrannical regime tries to take control of the school. Again, space may have helped here. A slower development to that, even over the course of a couple days, would have seemed more believable. The characters seem to ignore some of the things that happen on an emotional level. I could see the alien environment having an effect on them, but it should be stated more clearly.
I feel like I am bashing on the book a bit, but it is quite good. It sucked me in quickly and had me rooting for certain characters. And the art is great. The strange landscapes and creatures have just enough basis on things from our own world to give the reader a reference point. From there, the creators have some fun letting their imaginations go wild on what might populate this world.
The book may appeal more to high school age students because they would more easily identify with the characters. However, it should appeal to a wider audience.
This is an excellent title. The characters and the situation are well defined. There are leaders, there are followers, and there are rebels. The alien lifeforms are scary, and this is a frightening comic; I really got into it even though I started reading it before six in the morning (insomnia). It does remind me heavily of The Walking Dead with a mix of Predators, but there's enough new about this collection to make it a worthwhile read. ****1/2