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Tom Strong #35

Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"Cold Calling"

Writer: Peter Hogan
Artists: Chris Sprouse(p), Karl Story(i), Wildstorm FX(c)
Publisher: DC

I'm a sucker for the type of story seen in Tom Strong. Peter Hogan shows that Tom can be a serious super-hero as well as a metafictional statement about super-heroes.

The plot is simple. A familiar m.o. attracts Tom, Tesla and her volcanic boyfriend Val to the Millennium Diamond Exchange where the guards received a frozen dessert. This sets Tom into trying not to accept the idea that his old girlfriend who has freezing powers is behind the hold-up.

Hogan follows Moore's source material to the letter, and he adds inventive character twists to the character interaction. For instance, with one throwaway gag, he easily transforms Tom Strong's Pneumann and Solomon to Doc Savage's Monk and Ham.

While I objected strongly to the way Peter Hogan characterized a pair of dim-bulb lesbian heroes in Terra Obscura. His treatment of the Tom Strong female cast is nothing short of respectful, and each speaks with a distinctive voice.

The star of the book gains some emotional weight. Chris Sprouse who is more of a human architectural engineer draws surprising depth of emotion from the usually stoic and underplayed Tom. You can tell in the panels that he's not looking forward to finding the truth, and when the truth hits him, it hits hard.

The ending fits with the more optimistic outlook of Tom Strong, and Hogan carries it off with confidence and charm.



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