Tom Strong's Terrific Tales: Book Two HC
This review is going to be shorter than my review of Book One, because my feelings on this second tranche of six issues are largely the same as for the first half-dozen. It's a nice mix of stories with some decent regular artists, interspersed with some wonderful guest-appearances from creators who really serve to put their own stamp on the Tom Strong family of characters.
Bruce Timm turns up for a memorable tongue-in-cheek strip about Tesla Strong being kidnapped and taken to a 'game reserve' for jungle-girl archetypes, and Peter Bagge contributes art to an amusingly downbeat and grimy take on the Strong family in the final issue.
But it's the regular artists that really won me over here - Alan Weiss' art on the Young Tom Strong strip feels like it gets better and better with each instalment, and I love the way that we gradually see the young version of the character transform into the adult incarnation over the course of the 12 issues.
And these two volumes have definitely served to convert me into an Art Adams fan - his work on the Jonni Future strips is amazingly detailed, and manages to pull off the space-girl cheesecake that the series plays on without ever feeling too seedy or crass. It's classy cheesecake!
Interestingly, towards the end of the run he starts to share art duties with Chris Weston - there's an issue where Adams provides layouts and Weston finishes, then vice versa, then a final issue that's all Weston - and it's to Weston's credit that the transition isn't too jarring.
Alan Moore's lead stories are always interesting and inventive (I quite liked the guidebook-style prose issue that offers a guide to Millennium City, with a single large Mike Kaluta illustration for each page) and Steve Moore surprised me with the way that he worked many of his standalone single chapters into satisfying larger arcs for the characters, without letting it overshadow the individual stories.
I'm looking forward to moving on to the two Tomorrow Stories collections now, with only a small tinge of regret that there are no Terrific Tales left.