Graphic Novel Review ~ The Woods Vol. 1

Graphic Novel Review

I’ve been waiting to read The Woods for months. I found out about the series after several issues had come out so I decided to wait for the trade paperback. Waiting wouldn’t have been such a bad decision if my library hadn’t waited so long to order a copy for their shelves. (I shouldn’t really complain. They do employ me and all.)

Thankfully, The Woods was worth the wait.

Written by James Tynion IV with art by Michael Dialynas, The Woods is a story about a prep school mysteriously transported to an alien moon.

Where exactly are they? Why are they there? And is this all some kind of test?

These are all pertinent questions that even the characters are asking. Six kids quickly rise to the forefront. There’s indecisive Karen, capable Sanami, survivalist Calder, leader Maria, perpetual loser Isaac, psycho/determined Adrian.

While Maria’s dealing with a dictator wannabee at the school, the rest of the kids venture out in the forest–spurred on by Adrian’s belief that that’s the only way they’ll survive.

From there things get weird as they encounter monsters that want to eat them and other–more human–aspects of the planet.

The Woods‘ plot gets started quickly. Less than halfway through the first issue, the characters are already transported to a distant moon and attacked by aliens. I was thankful for the quick pace. It caught me up in the story and didn’t leave any room for boredom. Immediately, I wanted to know where these characters were and what was happening to them. It was amazing easy to get invested in this story. I love a good “Let’s Attempt to Survive While Monsters Try to Eat Us” story, and this book definitely delivers on that. The school plot with Maria, however, adds another layer of depth to the plot. She has to deal with bad people struggling to gain power, and that’s definitely a fascinating story in and of itself.

The characters (while probably the weakest part of The Woods so far) were all completely distinct with personalities and looks easy to distinguish from the others. I only say they are the weakest part about the series because we know so little about them–even by the end of Issue #4. I definitely wanted more backstory on these characters. There’s lots of mystery revolving around their lives before, and I would just like to get a more 3-D look at them rather than the sort of simplistic presentation that’s been given so far. That’s not to say I don’t like what I know about the characters. They’re just part of the mystery I’m hoping will be unraveled sooner rather than later.

The art in The Woods certainly deserves a mention because it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love the use of vibrant purples and blues on the alien moon. It makes for such a difference between the look of the scenes on earth vs. everything after they’re transported. The aliens were a perfect mix of surreal and grotesque (as weird as Doctor Robot was there was still something endearingly cute about him/her/it). The characters, like I said before, were also drawn wonderfully unique. In some comics, you can easily confuse the characters with each other but not here.

I’d definitely recommend checking out The Woods if you’re a fan of Morning Glories or the TV show, LOST. It’s a twisty-turvy mystery with a good dash of horror and running for your lives thrown in.

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