Source: Boom! Studios
If you’re looking for reader’s blue balls, look no further than The Woods #1. Talk about leaving with a cliffhanger. I went into reading The Woods with zero expectations for the writer, the artist, even the story. What started off reading like a high school drama series, led to something else entirely.
With no expectations for art going in, most impressive was this cover:
The panel art (Michael Dialynas) was less distinct, with heavy inks and dark hues. Some panels are squint-inducing, while others can pop with esoteric overtones. It’s decent with a little bit of hauntingly beautiful mixed in. I kind of hate it, but it’s kind of awesome.
I didn’t expect the sci-fi portion to happen the way it did, and I was a bit jarred. Originally, this is a good thing, it opens with humor, then gets real for a minute & then merges comedy with horror/sci-fi. But what happens instead, is a series of odd pacing moments. The story isn’t exactly sequential and encompasses a lot quickly. I wouldn’t call it organic, but it does get the slow parts out of the way. I kind of hate it, but it’s kind of awesome.
James Tynion IV (Batman), writes the main characters well, defining them and introducing them naturally since he ambitiously introduced 8 of them in the first issue. I can’t knock him for that. Basically in this issue, he establishes them, the problem, and the next action they need to take in order to stay alive considering they’re being attacked by *something* other-wordly. If you guessed that at the end of the first issue they end up going into, I don't know, The Woods, you’re right. Give yourself a pat on the back, you’re a real detective. The way it closes out, it becomes obvious there's some sort of outside-control of the situation, leaving the reader wanting to know what happens next. I kind of hate it, but it's kind of awesome.
All in all - I’m not sure I’d get issue #1. Issue #2 might completely change the game, but the first issue is shaky at establishing its roots. The story is best served for teenagers in my opinion & may find a good following there. It’s more event-based than character-driven so far, but there’s a lot of ground to cover at the pace Tynion is going, so expect a quick story. I do enjoy that sci-fi, horror, teenage drama and mystery are being blended, and for that reason, I hold out hope for a great series for other readers. Basically, I kind of hate it, but it’s kind of awesome, like a magnificent fart.