Vertigo releases its new volume of the fan-favorite adventurer.
Vertigo Comics continues its growth and rejuvenation this week with Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1, a fantastic and fun comic full of interesting characters, family heartache, and galaxy-spanning science fiction. It’s been three years since Peter Hogan and Chris Sprouse ended the previous Tom Strong series, Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom, but under their direction the brand new Vertigo volume begins with a bang.
Tom Strong has been on my personal “to-read” list for years, and I’m sure that like many fans that list is ever-growing and some books are forced to wait in line longer than they should. Without my being properly introduced to the famed series, however, Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1 not only introduces the names, faces, and tone of the series, but Hogan instantly makes the characters likeable and relatable. The life-threatening predicament that Tom and his daughter Tesla find themselves in was like a giant hook that caught me within the first few panels of the book, and had me simultaneously worried about their futures and excited for Tom’s journey across the galaxy to save his loved ones. Wrapped around this family drama, moreover, are several nods to the America’s Best Comics line and characters that Tom has shared pages with in the past that will surely make every reader crack a smile, all without ever making the book feel too rooted in its past to be unreadable for new fans. Though Hogan is only one issue in, it feels like the writer has a great grasp of the characters and direction of the series, and is crafting the book to be fun for new and old fans alike.
Tom and his fellow characters command a certain presence that must be credited to Chris Sprouse’s bold art. With most of Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril focusing on the danger facing Tom and his family, there is a shortage of outright exciting panels, yet Sprouse pencils his characters in such a way that they not only look great, but emphasize the gravity of the situation. Though this book is similarly my first introduction to Sprouse’s work, it’s safe to say that I cannot wait to see Tom and his fellow adventurers in as many exciting sci-fi action sequences as possible as the series progresses.
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril is surely going exciting places. In the course of 20 or so pages Tom is confronted with life-changing emergencies, multiverse-spanning connections, and a planet from his past, all wrapped in with a ton of heart. With Peter Hogan and Chris Sprouse pumping out such a great introductory issue, the month wait for issue #2 will be quite difficult to bear.
Peter Hogan (W), Chris Sprouse (A) • DC/Vertigo Comics, $2.99, July 31, 2013.