One Mad Dog

[Tom Strong Book 3] – (Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Leah Moore, Howard Chaykin, Shawn McManus)

Tom Strong Book 3 collects issues issues #15-19 which include:

  • Tom Strong #15 – “Ring Of Fire!” –  Tesla Strong is kidnapped by one of the mysterious Salamander people that first appeared in Tom Strong #8 and it is up to the Strong’s s to rescue her. What they find doesn’t please Tom at all.
  • Tom Strong #16 – “Some Call Him The Space Cowboy”  – Part One: While Tom Strong is a bit stressed out trying to come to terms with his daughter’s new boyfriend, a mysterious three-eyed stranger arrives in Millennium City with a warning for Tom Strong.  Tom is in no mood to entertain strangers and behaves in an uncharacteristically un-gentlemanly way . #16 also sees the welcome return of ex Tom Strong adversary Temple Baldry and gives a back story on the Weird Rider.
  • Tom Strong #17 – “Ant Fugue!”  – Part Two: Tom Strong and the Weird Rider attempt to prepare a force to tackle the impending invasion of Earth by calling upon friends and past adversaries. Unfortunately the strongmen decide to tag along which has dramatic consequences.
  • Tom Strong #18 – “The Last Roundup” – Part Three: Tom Strong and company defend Earth against the alien ant menace and attempt to rescue the strongmen. This is the final part of this 3 episode story arc.
  • Tom Strong #19 – This issue contains three short stories :  1) “Electric Ladyland!” with art by Howard Chaykin where Dhalua is kidnapped by a secret society of women. 2) “Bad To The Bone” which is written by Leah Moore with art by “Shawn McManus”  where the details of Paul Saveen’s death are revealed as he searches for the Temple of Everlasting Life. 3) “The Hero-Hoard Of Horatio Hogg!” with art by Chris Spouse where Tom and Tesla are trapped inside a booby-trapped comic-book by crazed collector Horatio Hogg.

Book #3  keeps up with the excellent story telling and art that have characterized this series. I enjoyed this book as much as book 1 and more than the slightly weaker book 2.  I think it is important that this series is read in order and would not consider this 3rd volume to be a jumping on point. The two main stories and three short stories are all of a high standard but it is the story of the Space cowboy that stands out the most.

Chris Spouses’s art is excellent and his work really defines the Tom Strong universe.  Shawn McManus also does a really good job of capturing the correct look and feel in the excellent “Bad to the Bone” short story. I am sorry to say that the only real let down in the art department in my opinion was the work of Howard Chaykin in the short story “Electric Ladyland”.  Its not that his work is bad but just that it appears dated and lacking in detail when put next to Sprouse and McManus.

Buying this should be a safe bet for fans of Tom strong and the stories and artwork should appeal to a wide audience. [ISBN-13: 978-1401202859]. 8/10

[Tom Strong Book 2] – (Alan Moore, Alan Weiss, Chris Sprouse, Paul Chadwick, Gary Gianni, Al Gordon)
August 29, 2010, 7:01 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Alan Weiss, Chris Sprouse, Gary Gianni, Paul Chadwick, Tom Strong

This second collected edition of Alan Moore’s Tom Strong stories is a compendium of short tales most of them drawn by Chris Sprouse and inked by  Al Gordon. My favorite art in the whole collection is penciled by Alan Weiss and it is stunning.  Contained in this Volume are:

  • “Riders of the Lost Mesa” with fantastic artwork by Alan Weiss.
  • “The Old Skool” with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Sparks” with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Terror Temple of Tayasal” with artwork by Paul Chadwick.
  • “Volcano Dreams”  with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Flip Atti Tude”  with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Phantom Auto Gyro” with Victorian style artwork by Gary Gianni.
  • “Funnyland” with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Too Many Teslas” with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Strange Reunion” with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “Terror on Terra obscura”  with artwork by Chris Sprouse.
  • “The Tower at Times End” with artwork by Chris Sprouse, Kylr Baker, Russ Heath and Pete Poplaski.
  • “Space Family Strong” with unusual Hanna Barbera style artwork  by Chris Sprouse.
  • “The Lands of Hearts Desire”  with artwork by Chris Sprouse.

Book 2  has a very high standard of artwork with a very 50’s feel in both art and writing.  The stories them self are pretty good on the whole but they never seemed to capture me as much as the first collected edition.  Tom Strong seems to lack any sort of vulnerability which means the stories often lack tension. It can also get a little complicated at times with the stories jumping around through time and dimensions.  The book does have a thread running through it featuring arch villain “Saveen” but it is not as good as the first volume where we had Nazi enemies and a secret love  child.  [ISBN-13: 978-1563898808]. 7/10

[Tom Strong Book 1] – (Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Arthur Adams, Gary Frank, Cam Smith, Dave Gibbons, Jerry Ordway)

Tom Strong is a superhero comic book with a classic feel to it. The characters are almost Victorian in values and although much of the book is set in some strange vision of the future, it also calls upon key events in human history such as WW2.  Tom Strong was born a regular human but became super strong  when his parents kept him in a 5 times gravity chamber until he was 11 and fed him on some strange root from a lost tribe.  He is also super smart and uses his science skills to fight evil. Tom doesn’t fight alone, he is supported by his wife (also from the lost tribe), daughter, a talking ape and a steam powered robot.

The stories in this collected edition are enjoyable and have a pulp fiction weekly comic book style to them. The  artwork is excellent and the color pallet vibrant. Although there are futuristic elements, the book has a bit of a steam punk look to it. I don’t always enjoy Alan Moore’s work but I think this is the type of thing he does best. [ISBN-13: 978-1563896644]. 8/10