Current Reviews


Tom Strong #18

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2002
By: Ray Tate

"The Last Roundup"

Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Chris Sprouse(p), Karl Story(i), Dave Stewart(c)
Publisher: DC

This story reminds me a lot of the JSA annual tying in to Our Worlds at War. The scope intends to be epic. The characters involved are a-list heroes. The consequences should the heroes fail are unimaginable. The difference is that Alan Moore actually makes me believe that there is a menace to the earth. He makes me believe that any of the characters conceivably can lose their lives in this story, and a-list heroes really do engage in battle.

Mr. Moore creates the enemies to humanity quite nasty, and unlike the empty suits portrayed in the empty rack that was Our Worlds at War these creatures exhibit hostile intent. No lives seemed to be lost in the bloated DC exercise in literary flatulence. Not so in Tom Strong. Their deadly actions emphasize their threat.

Unlike DC's lesser work, the breathless action doesn't stop in the book, and surprising plot twists keep the story interesting as well as plausible. It's not just Tom Strong saving the earth from forces which clearly outnumber his own troops, meager by comparison. His ingenuity does believably save the lives of his comrades, but big guns foreshadowed in previous issues do their part to even the odds.

Chris Sprouse's artwork provides consistency and drama. His Svetlana looks like Lucy Lawless, and it's important that she looks that way all the time within this story. When the artwork fluctuates, the character can lose personality. Together she and Tom Strong fight in the heart of the Hive, and because of the artwork being the same for the characters, providing them with a normal model, we feel for greater concern for them. In other words, it would upset me more to see Svetlana's head lopped off by a giant ant if she were drawn by Chris Sprouse than if she were drawn by a substitute artist.

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