By James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas & Josan Gonzalez
The Woods has a seemingly random plot that begs for further explanation; a whole high school is mysteriously teleported to some bizarre alien locale, and that really sums things up. Unfortunately, this is about as far as things go for issue #1 and your guess is as good as mine as to what this series will end up being about.
James Tynion IV opens with a very intriguing and mysterious single page before The Woods #1 spirals into what feels like an overly typical high school story. This was the case for the first third of the book, with pretty standard stock-characters and social dynamics for this kind of setting; nothing really interesting going on here yet. However, the innocuous introduction soon gives way to chaos. While this was only the first installment, it was a little jarring to have absolutely no sense of what was happening or why, as the entire school seems to be teleported to another world. This is where things start to get a bit more interesting though, as widespread panic quickly ensues among all but a small handful of students. There are some potentially interesting developments throughout which will hopefully be addressed more in the next issue, but at this early stage, we’re still very much in the dark. The rest of the book was enough to redeem itself from the relatively shaky beginning as the violent thrills start coming out of nowhere, which really made for some suspenseful reading at times.
While the incredibly random plot opening left something to be desired, the artwork by Michael Dialynas and Josan Gonzalez was great. The overall style of Dialynas’ illustrations had a cartoony edge to it without lacking in detail or feeling silly. With so many different characters introduced right away, it’s great to have such an identifiable appearance for each of them to help keep track of everybody. The alien world in particular featured some terrific designs and provided some great atmosphere that emphasized the darker aspects of this story. Gonzalez’ colors really enhance all of the visuals with a lot more depth and a brilliant overall palette for the alien world. Everything in this strange locale is vibrant, detailed, and quite interesting.
While The Woods might’ve done more to engage readers in the plot, this is certainly shaping up to be one heck of a mystery that will surely unfold more as the story progresses. However, it needs to get there quickly as there wasn’t a lot offered up in issue #1 to really hold onto. Still though, this one has a lot of potential in it’s oddly random story, and the visuals were excellent.