Review - The Woods #1

"Um...Mr. Beaumont, something very strange is happening..."

Don't you hate it when you go to school or work and it turns out the entire group you're there with is teleported somewhere else? Especially when that somewhere else is a creepy forest with a mysterious artifact in the center? Finding your way out would become your first priority and is the first priority for the characters in The Woods #1 from BOOM! Studios. The issue is written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Michael Dialynas, colored by Josan Gonzalez and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI, vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.

The most obvious comparison for The Woods is Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, right down to the fact that it's a high school being attacked by monsters. It's not as simple as that, but that's the gist of Tynion's script. The characters fit the high school stereotypes (jock, nerd, drama student, etc.) and actually manage to come together in a way that works. It's primarily because they realize they have little chance of surviving otherwise, which also speaks to the mystery and severity of the danger they're facing. The book reads fairly normally for the first half and then things get really weird when the school is transported away. Tynion doesn't give much detail in terms of what or why, but it's expected that the newly vanished will spend the bulk of the series trying to answer those questions.

Panels in The Woods #1 are chock full of action, whether it be students running, monsters shrieking or depictions of the woods themselves. Dialynas emphasizes facial expressions most of all, ensuring the reader gets what's going through the head of the characters are that moment. Characters are defined and simple, offering a variety of body types to lend to the notion of the high school as a melting pot of sorts. Gonzalez adds a rather dark shading palette to the art, offering colors that live in the dark red and blue areas, keeping the environment somewhat mysterious. The combination of the two talents makes the book feel sufficiently dark and strange.

The Woods #1 offers a very interesting premise that does a great job in leaving a lot of questions unanswered. Those questions are the meat of the series itself, so it will be interesting to see how the book responds and slowly pulls back the curtain. Tynion IV offer's characters who are definitely varied and will attempt to provide a host of different viewpoints to the reader, all of which are poised to keep things fresh. The art team of Dialynas and Gonzalez provide rather moody illustrations that further underscore the strange events that are occurring. There's a lot to be intrigued by in The Woods #1 and hopefully questions will be answered in a way that keeps peeling back the layers for the reader.

The Woods #1 is in stores May 7 with interiors below.