Tom Strong
Book Six (Hardback)

Authors: Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock and others
Artists: Chris Sprouse, Jerry Ordway and others
Titan Books
RRP: 19.99, US $24.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6385 5
ISBN-10: 1 84576 385 5
Available 22 December 2006

Pirate adventures, encounters with old foes near and far, and inner-space explorations are mere preface to Tom Strong's greatest challenge: the end of the World...

Book Six in the Tom Strong series sees another collection of adventures for our hero. We start of with a tale of pirates, as Tom and co. take to the high seas in a tale that is partly based on King Kong. Next up Pneuman's health is under the microscope as Tom discovers that his robotic friend is ill. This is followed by a trip into fiction as Tom sets out on an adventure that has all the locations and characters from a book he once read. Tom also attempts to track down an old friend who he believes is being held captive against her will. And finally Tom's universe starts to come unstable as he prepares himself for the end of the World.

This collection is the best in the Tom Strong series. It's not that there are any particularly fantastic standout tales, just that there is something here to appease everyone's tastes. Whether it's a good old fashioned sci-fi tale with a twist (The Journey Within); old fashioned adventures on the high seas and mysterious islands (The Black Blade of the Barbary Coast) or seeing the world through the eyes of a villain (Cold Calling) this collection delivers the goods.

One of the great things about Tom Strong is that the authors never take it too seriously. A great example of the writers having fun with the characters is a panel where Tom is eager for his team to carry out a surprise attack on their enemy. He asks them to make sure they are quiet. However it is quickly pointed out to him the fact that they are floating over their prey's house in a flying saucer may well have alerted him to their existence.

While all of the stories have their own merits, for me, the most satisfying tale was At the End of the Word. While the story is not overly exciting for the most part, there is a surprise revelation regarding Saveen, and the conclusion neatly wraps up the Tom Strong universe in a way that will have you reaching for the Kleenex - almost.

Another interesting Tom Strong collection that manages to get the balance of stories just right. I couldn't think of a better way to conclude this series.

Nick Smithson

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