Written by Alan Moore
Artists: Chris Sprouse, Alan Gordon, and various artists
Collects Tom Strong 8-14 with the original covers and concept art.
Publisher: America’s Best Comics
Publication date: 2000
This time, most of the stories are shorter than before. Four of the issues have three stories but there’s also one two-part story which is my favorite so far.
Some of the stories are quite silly like “The Old Skool!” in the first issue where a group of school kids are kidnapped by giant robots. Turns out that that older teachers think that the modern school system is too gentle on the kids and they want to school the kids in an older style.
I also actually quite liked the first story in the first issue. It starts with Tom and Solomon riding in a landscape brings to mind old westerns. Then they meet the people… who have three eyes and are upset by Tom’s strange features. Alas, because the story was so short, everything was resolved quickly. However, I still liked it as a nice twist to a common, er, plot or plot device.
Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the third story, where Tesla is goes to inspect a live volcano. She’s inside a transparent suit (would it have been transparent if a male character had worn it? I doubt it) kneeling in it, for some reason. She finds fire elemental type male creatures inside… and one of them is hugely attracted to her. He shooes the other fire creatures off and the problem is solved. Bah.
In issue 11 (Strange Reunion) Tom Strange from an parallel Earth, although not from a parallel dimension, comes to Tom Strong’s Earth to ask for help. Strange’s Earth (which Strong has named Terra Obscura) has been attacked by a giant alien robot (hmm. Is there a theme here?) which has killed all other Earth’s heroes and is attacking the Earth itself. However, Strange didn’t have a space ship so he simply jumped through the Milky Way to Strong’s Earth which took him thirty years. Unsurprisingly, Strong decides to help Strange and together they return to Strange’s Earth on Strong’s space ship.
In the next issue (Terror on Terra Obscura), we find out that the robot hasn’t killed all of Earth’s heroes, and Strange and Strong can save some of them. However, 30 years have gone by and the united heroes still have to find a way to stop the robot which is slowly building Earth into its own spaceship.
I really liked this one; it feels like an old-fashioned superhero adventure. Of course, I don’t really know much about the heroes in Terra Obscura but they are similar enough with other comics’ characters that they feel familiar. Pretty much the only think I didn’t like was the small part the the female characters played. Tesla and Dhalua stayed behind when the two Toms left and nobody even suggested that they should come to TO. Also, in the second part of the story all the heroes who do something significant in the story are male. There are a few female heroes but they’re apparently there just as eye candy. Sigh.
The Tower at Time’s End! in issue 13 is a classic time-travel adventure. Tom’s nemesis Paul Saveen has gotten hold of Parallax’s time machine and he’s traveled to the Fortress at end of time in order to become the master of time. He’s also gathered up other Saveens from other dimensions and they are all working together. However, in order to become the master of time the Saveens need the red ruby of eternity, and the Time-Keeper has split in three parts and send it to different (or rather the same protectors). Saveen, of course, goes after the ruby parts. The first one went to the the “current” Tom Strong, the next one to a 12 years old Tom Strong, and the last one to Warren Strong who is Tom’s counterpart in an dimension which is inhabited by talking animals. Warren is a rabbit and Saveen is a fox.
The last issue has three space adventures set in the year 1955 when the Strongs had a space vacation. The first one is a comedy but next one tackles a classic SF plot device: a place that came all of your dream come true. The last story is set in far future.
I didn’t like these short stories as much as the longer ones but I really liked the Terra Obscura double issue story. For me, the shorter stories didn’t have much meat on their bones. But I tend to enjoy the characters and the science fiction setting.