I did not know who Tom Strong was. At all. Not a thing. When I bought Tom Strong and The Planet of Peril #1, I had no idea what I was really purchasing. The only thing I knew about the issue was that Chris Sprouse was the artist and I’ve enjoyed his art immensely in the past. That’s all I went on. Perhaps it’s foolhardy to spend $3-4 on a comic book that I may not like, but in this case, I was feeling adventurous.
Little did I know I would be a Tom Strong fan by the end of only this first issue. In 22 pages, I learned all about Tomas Strong, his relationships, his purview as a ‘hero’ of sorts, his personality, and his mission. The mark of an excellent comic book is it’s ability to attract new readers as well as keep longtime fans satiated and satisfied. Tom Strong and The Planet of Peril #1 does this fantastically. With absolutely no knowledge of the Tom Strong world, I was immediately engulfed in the narrative, completely wrapped up in the characters and their struggle. Honestly, it was a bit disconcerting, enjoying a comic book so when I didn’t know anything about it prior to reading.
Tom Strong and The Planet of Peril #1 is an excellent read. Perhaps it’s my affinity for metafiction, or maybe it’s that science heroes are just cool as hell. Whatever the reason, Tom Strong has a new fan. I’ve already started saving my money for the original Alan Moore run (which was also illustrated by Sprouse!) Seriously, I can’t say enough how much fun this issue is; there’s action, drama, thrills, and Peter Hogan doesn’t condescend to his readers, an aspect I hold in very high regard. Hogan understands that not everyone knows who Tom Strong is in 2013, so he includes flashbacks and moments of exposition that aren’t really exposition because they’re hidden within the insanely good plot.