Review: The Woods #7
The struggles of the gay community do not start and end with interpersonal and systemic homophobia. Whenever fiction dedicates time to an LGBT character, it’s common for it to focus on interpersonal homophobia or the direct results of discrimination, but there’s more strife to being gay than those things. Sometimes, the challenge is not braving the storm of hatred and bullying, but rather just looking deep within oneself and coming to grips with what’s found and being vocal and honest about it. That perhaps under-explored aspect of the gay experience scores dedication from the bulk of the pages of The Woods #7, which focus upon character Ben. It’s an incredibly emotionally-resonate, feel-good read, with great use of the comics craft and enough solid action to boot.
It all starts with Michael Dialynas’s art, which offers so much in terms of characterization. All of the awkwardness, all of the determination, all of the anger, all of the shyness, all of the fear, all of the kindness, every important emotion that Ben goes through can be seen on his face throughout the issue. This makes following his internal conflict all the more engaging and exciting. The way The Woods has characterized Ben throughout this series is a master-class in how to visually characterize through comics.
Writer James Tynion IV smart technique of thematically connecting characters to their past through flashbacks returns once again, this issue perhaps housing the best example so far. It jumps back and forth at just the right times to make the prospect of reading forward all the more compelling. On two occasions, lines of dialogue find themselves repeated in both the past and present, offering the most satisfying and attention-grabbing moments of the two settings connecting.
Not the entire issue is devoted to Ben; the rest follows a trio of three other kids, offering some action and more reveals to build onto the larger mystery and plot of this series. Readers get the kind of answers that just prompt the same amount of questions, but it’s all fun and interesting, as well as coherent enough to be enjoyable. This issue certainly doesn’t hit the high points of last issues in terms of action, instead offering some pretty standard fair. There’s some entertaining killing of monsters and bizarre-green-tiger-riding, but nothing all that special.
The most intriguing character of this series finally got the attention he has had coming, and it does not disappoint. Not only is the plot cleverly constructed, but the art is excellent. The Woods #7 is one of the best issues of this great series.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Michael Dialynas
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
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BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review