- Fables: The Good Prince vol 10 TPB, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Aaron Alexovich & Andrew Pepoy (DC/Vertigo)
- Justice Society of America #16, by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross, Fernando Pasarin & Rebecca Buchman (DC)
- Tom Strong vol 6 TPB, by Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Michael Moorcock, Jerry Ordway, Joe Casey, Ben Oliver, Steve Moore, Paul Gulacy, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter Hogan & Karl Story (DC/America’s Best)
- Avengers/Invaders #2 of 12, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger & Steve Sadowski (Marvel)
- Nova #14, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Wellington Alves & Scott Hanna (Marvel)
- The Boys #19, by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson (Dynamite)
- Star Trek: Assignment Earth #2 of 12, by John Byrne (IDW)
Tom Strong was one of the flagship titles of Alan Moore’s America’s Best Comics imprint. It was basically a mash-up of Doc Savage and other adventure heroes, with Tom having been born in the late 19th century, come of age in a high-pressure chamber which made him immensely strong, and lived for over a century thanks to a rare herb from the island on which he grew up. He became the protector of Millennium City and the adversary of the villainous Paul Saveen. It’s far from Moore’s best stuff, but it was often quite entertaining, and was amply supported by terrific art by the too-rarely-seen Chris Sprouse.
The sixth trade paperback collection completes the set, but the series really limped to a halt (mainly because I think Moore cut back on his work once the imprint was bought by DC Comics). This volume includes a lavishly-illustrated but trivial pirate story by Michael Moorcock and Jerry Ordway, and a few episodes which tie up some loose ends for some of the characters. This culminates in the final issue, in which everything gets tied up by Moore in a close encounter with the afterlife courtesy of one of the other ABC characters, Promethea.
So the volume practically screams “for completists only”, and in a way that’s what Tom Strong was on the whole: If you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing that you’ll like. It was less ambitious than either Promethea or Top 10, and never really went anywhere. Just Moore playing around, really. There’s some very good stuff in the series, but more than anything else in the ABC line-up, it seemed to underscore that Moore has long since peaked as a writer and is pretty firmly on the back end of his career at this point.
This month’s Assignment: Earth is simply a “shadow history” taking place within the Star Trek episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, which takes place two years after “Assignment: Earth” to Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, but before that episode to the crew of the Enterprise. It’s a cute idea, albeit not very original, but unfortunately it doesn’t reveal anything about the main characters, or anything about the TV episode, since Kirk and company pretty much covered all their bases at the time. So unfortunately there turned out to be no point except to play around with story structure. I’d rather have had a brand new story which moved the characters of Seven and Roberta forward; this issue felt like empty calories.
(Oh, and the scene on the cover never appears in the issue, which makes it feel like a bait-and-switch!)
Comics I Didn’t Buy This Week:
- Manhunter #31, by Marc Andreyko & Michael Gaydos (DC)
- Trinity #1 of 52, by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley & Art Thibert (DC)