by James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas and Josan Gonzalez
James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas’ new series, The Woods, is a pretty fun and curious new work coming out through BOOM! Studios. In the first issue, a high school, its student body and faculty were suddenly transported to some distant planet. In the moments afterwards, the students sprung to action while the faculty tried to assess the situation. Tynion balances the science fiction plot with some fun high school elements rather well. Here in issue two, plans start to take action and readers get a bit more of a sense of the characters involved.
Tynion uses the first page in a smart way, overlaying a narration of the school principal as he addresses the faculty with shots of the setting to establish where the story is. It is not quite a recap page, but it functions as one in a very organic way. In this issue, readers begin to get a better sense of who the characters are. Maria interrupts the faculty meeting with a call to action and once again the school principal belittles the power of the acting student council. It makes for some fun commentary on the relationship between administration and students when it comes to power, while having some subtler nods to the approach of teens versus adults to a situation. Maria is headstrong and demands action, while the faculty are slower to act in an attempt to gather the facts. It is not the focus of the issue, but it is a clever dynamic to include.
Elsewhere, Adrian and his friends are working their way through the woods. Adrian, last issue, seemed to be mesmerized when he approached the strange pyramid structure after which he demanded people follow a plan of his. He, since, has been hush on his intentions or expectations for once they reach the right place. This is a fun dynamic leaving the reader to wonder about what Adrian knows if he knows anything at all. Tynion leaves room for Adrian to be an unreliable character in that regard. Amongst the many unknowns, this one means even what the reader is being told may be inaccurate.
This issue also adds in a few more strange creatures. After last issue’s startling appearance by some monstrous bug, readers get to see a few more this time around. Michael Dialynas, artist for The Woods, does a pretty solid job creating the colorful creatures of this yet unnamed planet. He also introduces an alien creature that may not be aggressive, and this one readers get to see a little more. The story follows rather easily through Dialynas’ pencils. Series colorist Josan Gonzalez makes some solid choices for bringing life to the book as well. A lot of the landscape in the book has a strange glow to its coloring. Gonzalez may be trying to capture a visual aesthetic fitting for this alien landscape. It’s never distracting, but does feel a little less dynamic than it otherwise could.
Overall, the story so far is definitely intriguing and Tynion’s character work sets up the potential for some really fun twists and turns. With some decent mysteries added to the mix, The Woods is an entertaining new series.