by James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas & Josan Gonzalez
James Tynion’s The Woods is beginning to feel like Lord of the Flies or Steven King’s The Mist. Take a group of individuals and drop them into a foreign scenario where all they have is each other. Little by little, factions begin to splinter off as individuals game some power and have differing ideas as to what needs to be done to survive or get back. As of the third issue, Tynion is settling in a bit more to the setting with his characters and letting nature take over. But just to keep the suspense up, there still exists the plot with Adrian and company venturing through the woods in search of some answers.
There is a really great call to uniting in the opening of this third chapter of The Woods. After the concern about what Maria might do in stirring up the students behind her, the faculty has responded by pulling in all the members of the school and having the principal address them. It’s a well written speech and Tynion does a great job making this plan feel as though it is the right path, despite what Coach Clay’s plan may be. It may sound like unity and safety, but behind the scenes, the athletics head has assembled a committee that is responsible for ensuring all individuals remain in their assigned rooms and punishing any who would show signs of a revolution. The school quietly and impressively transforms into a police state in this issue, and Clay looks to take advantage of their situation to suit his plan. Tynion does well to keep Clay off the panel most of the issue and readers are only left to wonder to what end may this man be aiming. It is certainly an interesting seed to plant.
Meanwhile, Adrian, Isaac and the rest are recovering after some intense situations that had occurred in issue two. Calder is suffering from a serious infection and there is still a monster tracking them. Soon, the group is left to decide if anyone is expendable if they are to be a risk to the others. The issue does not spend too much time with this debate, but it is impressive to see how quickly some of these individuals would cast aside each other for survival. Readers still know very little about this world or how anything works, but that has not stopped Tynion from pressing forward and unveiling bits more each time.
At this point in the series, however, the absolute vagueness of Adrian’s persistence to head through the woods and the strange circumstances that the entire story uses as its premise are wearing thin. While the imagination of the creative team is to be commended, the story will need more than some monsters soon in order to hold an audience month to month. Hopefully the next issues delve a bit more into the circumstances of this teleportation, Clay’s motives or Adrian’s vision. All the while, Michael Dialynas and Josan Gonzalez have remained consistent. The pencil work and paneling has been good throughout and Gonzalez offers an interesting color pallet to the alien planet. As long as the story begins to offer a bit more information amidst the forward momentum, The Woods will remain a worthwhile book.