“You just have to know what needs fixing.”: The Woods, Issue Fifteen

Untitled

THE WOODS #15 BOOM! STUDIOS
ARTIST: MICHAEL DIALYNAS WRITER: JAMES TYNION IV
COLORIST: JOSAN GONZALEZ LETTERER: ED DUKESHIRE

There was a point, reading The Woods #15, where I wondered if I was watching a very good episode of, say, Teen Wolf or One Tree Hill. It’s during the scene where, in the space of five pages, we have Calder telling everyone they’ve got to go back to the titular woods, Sanami giving an exposition dump, Ben and Isaac breaking up, and the group rapidly forming a plan. It was an odd feeling, but it wasn’t inherently negative, as The Woods’ writing was for the most part as good as ever- rather, it seemed like the result of the book’s new status quo. For most of the cast, Karen’s kidnapping by the Children of the Sun is the first major event relating to their alien overlords after a full year; before this, their main priorities were relationship troubles and student elections. Teenagers are known to get emotional over their problems, but when those problems involve cosmic horrors, it’s a whole new kind of trouble.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Exactly Where You Want To Be: The Woods, Issue Fourteen

Untitled

THE WOODS #14 BOOM! STUDIOS
ARTIST: MICHAEL DIALYNAS WRITER: JAMES TYNION IV
COLORIST: JOSAN GONZALEZ LETTERER: ED DUKESHIRE

Last month in The Woods, Maria described how the students of Bay Point have shifted their focus from “survival” to “living”. While elements of standard teen stories have always had a presence in the book, they always took a bit of a back seat to the more pertinent problems of being chased by aliens or discovering otherworldly civilizations. While there’s a new threat on the horizon, most of our cast are blissfully unaware of that fact, and that leaves them to explore two classic teen concepts: “relationships are hard!” and “drugs are bad!” Luckily, we’ve gotten to know and love these characters enough by now for this to still be rather engaging.

Continue reading

“I think we lose ourselves.”: The Woods, Issue Thirteen

Untitled

THE WOODS #13 BOOM! STUDIOS
ARTIST: MICHAEL DIALYNAS WRITER: JAMES TYNION IV
COLORIST: JOSAN GONZALEZ LETTERER: ED DUKESHIRE

Timeskips may be one of the biggest hit-or-misses a creator, or creators, can take. If done well, they can breathe new life into a story that would otherwise stagger; if not, they’ll leave a viewer or reader cold, feeling as if they’re missing something that seems vital. There’s also the fact that they may falter in retrospect, once a reader can look over an entire story and realize many promises haven’t been fulfilled. It’s because of that that I can’t say how well The Woods’ one year skip will work just yet, but it certainly has a booming start here, presenting us with a Bay Point that’s a lot more stable and a major cast of characters who aren’t.

Continue reading

“It’s too late for that now.”: The Woods, Issue Twelve

Untitled

(Spoilers!)

The Woods has always been an emotional book. This makes sense: it’s about a group of teenagers going through a long-term traumatic experience, their entire world being shifted on a dramatic level during one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Being pushed and pulled by otherworldly forces beyond their control doesn’t make things any easier, and it means that The Woods #12 needs to function not just as an ending to the book’s first act, but also as a set piece in the lives of many of its characters. James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas thankfully deliver, giving us an issue that changes the face of their story massively, not just by changing the course of the plot but by changing the course of the character’s lives. In doing so they ask their readers questions about the characters we’ve followed for the last year- many of which they leave obviously and purposefully ambiguous.

Continue reading

“It felt like the end of the world.”: The Woods, Issue Eleven

Untitled

This week’s issue of The Woods both starts and ends with teenagers discussing how they feel in the face of disaster. How you react to tragedy defines who you are, but what you consider a tragedy in the first place says just as much. For Isaac, something like not getting into the school play is enough to feel like “the end of the world”, even when Ben points out they’re now facing the much greater threat of violence and death. But Isaac’s taking that much better, as is Karen, who tells Sander that though her life in the last few weeks has become horribly painful, she feels completely calm. As we head toward the end of the book’s first year, imminent danger is closer than ever, and how these characters react to it will define how things turn out for them going forward.

Continue reading

“We must go to war.”: The Woods, Issue Ten

Untitled

There’s a scene in this week’s issue of The Woods where, in the vast catacombs of New London’s library, Sander says that his mother has reread Pride and Prejudice over and over. Even on this far-flung alien moon, full of strange creatures and dangerous secrets, Karen says that “it’s comforting to know that it’s popular with moms on both ends of the universe.” Humanity, and what humanity entails, is at the center of this issue, and with it comes what may be the thesis statement of The Woods as a whole: that the moral abilities of humanity may be all that is stopping our world from being even more horrific than it already is.

Continue reading

“We don’t get to be normal.”: The Woods, Issue 9

UntitledBy what standards do we measure a child becoming an adult? It’s always been obvious The Woods would be a coming of age story- the plot is literally “children leave high school and their parents and must learn to survive in a strange new environment”- but now that we’re out of the titular woods, at least for the time being, how that idea will play out has become more ambiguous. The kids have arrived in New London, a surprisingly bustling metropolis, where they’re being treated quite well, and it’s easy for them to adjust happily to the monotony of life there. But it’s also evident that New London may not be the paradise it’s meant to be, especially in a world fraught with so much danger. That peace is an illusion, and danger lurks in plain sight.

Continue reading