Review: The Woods #1

Woods_001_coverAOn October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.

I love a good mystery, and throw in some high school drama, it all can get pretty entertaining. This first issue is a fantastic start mixing in high school drama with elements of science fiction and horror. Writer James Tynion IV, who honed his skills working with Scott Snyder on Batman, shows off his fantastic abilities at crafting a story by giving us real stakes, by presenting situations that throw us off guard. The first issue successfully mixes teen angst and a creepy atmosphere. The set up is fantastic and works well, building a story where I want to find out what happens next.

If there’s any issue with the comic is the plot moves along almost too quickly, with introductions, the vanishing of the school to the alien world, and then a decision on how to proceed almost too quickly, and with too calm of a reaction by some. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but a decompression of the story might actually have been good, with the first issue ending on the transferred school, and main characters, discovering they’re not on Earth anymore, and then having the second issue cover their reactions and end with some of them formulating a plan. There’s a lot of distance covered in the first issue, thankfully it’s still written really well, even with it being compressed.

Backing up Tynion is artist Michael Dialynas, who adds a creepy feel, especially on the alien world. His art initially makes you feel settled, and everything seem ok. But, what seem like “safe” surroundings are quickly proven not with some fine twists. Overall, Tynion has added in some blood and guts along with the calmness, and Dialynas delivers both.

The first issue is a solid read, another feather in the cap for publisher BOOM! Studios, who I’m sure has another hit on their hand and quickly showing off they’re a prime publisher of original creator owned comics. There’s some pacing things here and there in the first issue that I covered above, and folks might not be freaked out quite enough about what happens, but the characters, mystery, and everything that’s set up is intriguing.

The Woods #1 might seem familiar at times, but it’s a hell of fun start.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Michael Dialynas
Story: 8 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review