The Woods is a new series from BOOM! Studios, written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Michael Dialynas. The premise is that a high school has been suddenly transported to what appears to be an alien planet. Why they were sent there and where they actually are, is a mystery.
The first issue introduced us to the main players and dealt with the immediate aftermath of the school’s relocation. Issue 2 handles the next step as the teachers and students start to adjust and decide what they’re going to do. Meanwhile a small band of students set out into the surrounding woods in an attempt to discover what’s actually going on.
You need to suspend your disbelief a bit when it comes to The Woods. I know it’s ludicrous to say something so obvious when it’s a fantasy horror comic we’re talking about, but I found it difficult to ignore how relaxed the cast are. I know, I know, they’ve been transported to another planet (at least it seems that way) so of course it’s not realistic. But I’m constantly surprised by how little panicking is taking place. Beyond one teacher nobody is really as worried as you’d think they’d be. However I understand this is probably because watching a bunch of teenagers cry isn’t very entertaining compared to seeing them leap into action.
The artwork by Dialynas is good but honestly seems a tiny bit mismatched in some scenes. The majority of the time it’s great but when things turn truly dark it almost looks a little at odds with the tone. Which is a problem with the issue at large really, the overall tone still feels a bit loose. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be reading a very dark, chilling story or if this is something that young teens could enjoy. The artwork looks like a cartoon (a very good cartoon) that lends itself to the lighter and more amusing moments excellently but whether that’s what the series leans on or if it settles on a darker path instead remains to be seen. The characters do look incredibly distinct though and Dialynas does a fantastic job of making everybody look unique, it’d be impossible to confuse one character for another. Also of note is the eerie colours, provided by Josan Gonzalez, which build up the strange and exotic locale with foreboding shades of purple and blue.
Across issue 2 things don’t really progress as much as you might expect. The kids out in the woods have a scene that although fun is a little cliché, while back at the school everybody just kind of argues. By comparison it felt like issue 1 packed a lot in while things have maybe slowed down a bit too much here. That said I still find myself interested in the series, the premise is stronger than the execution so far but there are flashes of real enticing stuff here and there.
The Woods #2 is a good comic, but it’s not quite a great comic. I applaud the team for having most of the characters break stereotypes but I’m struggling to care for the cast. Only one character has really leapt out at me as someone I want to read more of and so far things are just a bit predictable. I think there’s massive potential here and the team have certainly got talent, but it’s just not quite there yet. I’m going to stick with The Woods, as although this issue suffers a bit there are enough signs than it can still recover and find its feet.