If, like us, the main thing that bugged you about the first collected Tom Strong book was the supposed comedic support offered by the bickering between Strong’s robotic manservant and hyper-intelligent gorilla side-kick, you’ll be pleased to hear they take a backseat in this second collection. Instead we see more of Tom’s wife, Dhalua, and his daughter, Tesla – characters that have significantly more depth to them.
This is also the volume to read if you’re interested in any of the spin-offs. Both Tom Strange (from Terra Obscura) and Johnny Future (the father of Jonni Future from Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales) appear here, ready and waiting for their further adventures to be expanded upon.
The pacing of the book is varied, with some chapters enclosing as many as three independently produced stories (in a Tomorrow Stories sort of way), while others, like the Tom Strange adventure, spans two chapters on its own. This also allows different artists in on the game, though Chris Sprouse and Alan Gordon still get the lion’s share of the work and that’s almost certainly for the best, though the vignettes illustrated by the other artists are still of interest.
Without the interference of the more irritating characters in the series, this book shows off Tom Strong’s ability to pick up the high adventure, even in its pulpy style, without having to make an embarrassment of itself. It’s female characters help enormously to ground Tom’s macho elements, and the reduction in importance of those cheesey side-kicks has, at least in our opinion, pulled this series from the mire.
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