By various (America’s Best Comics)
The fourth collection gathers the material from issues #20-25 of the Man of Science’s monthly comic-book and signals a period where Alan Moore relinquished much of the writing to other hands. But before that happened he created an alternative time-line pastiche of DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths story that did much to flesh out the minor and background cast members. Running in #20 -22, ‘How Tom Stone Got Started’, ‘Strongmen in Silvertime’ and ‘Crisis in Infinite Hearts’ is by Moore, Jerry Ordway, Karl Story (and a few friends) and tragically shows in a better-than-average alternate/time-paradox how a matter of a second’s delay can change the World.
What if the black sailor, Tomas Stone, rather than Sinclair Strong had survived the Shipwreck on Attabar Teru? What if a child raised in a more humane environment, rather than the bleak isolation of a scientist’s theories, had reached America in 1920 to become a very different kind of super-hero? These questions are answered with profound sensitivity both to the sensitivities of a readership steeped in comic-book lore, and the desire for a damn fine comic experience.
Peter Hogan writes the next adventure, as a restored Tom, his extended family and Russian counterpart Svetlana X revisit the moon only to discover a huge surprise. ‘Moonday’ is drawn and inked by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story and the same creative team craft ‘Snow Queen’, as Greta Gabriel, Tom’s murdered lost love of the 1920s returns, not dead and chillingly, no longer human…
Geoff Johns, John Paul Leon and Dave Stewart conclude this volume with ‘Tom Strong’s Pal: Wally Willoughby’, wherein a twenty-something, nerdy, klutzy fan-boy proves to be possibly the most dangerous force in the universe. This subtle charmer puts a modern spin on the old adage of “Politeness costs nothing” and ends the book on a warm note.
Whilst possibly not having great resonance with Alan Moore’s mainstream followers, nor young newcomers, old lags who have followed comics for a while might find these tales oddly familiar and reassuring.
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