Tom Strong
Book Four

Authors: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 19.99, US $24.95, Cdn $37.95
ISBN 1 84576 093 X
Available 23 May 2005

Join Tom Strong in an alternate world where his origin was just slightly different - and then explore the Moon, revisit an old, cold flame, and meet Tom's biggest fan...

Book Four in this series contains a handful of tales that take a sideways look at the world of Tom Strong and his friends.

The first tale, which takes up almost 50% of this collection, is an alternative universe story. This sees Tom Strong's mother changing the future by one simple act - she was slightly delayed boarding a boat. The ripple effect being that she was shipwrecked, her husband was killed and she ended up getting it together with the captain of the boat. Tomas Stone replaces Tom Strong in this universe and is soon hooking up with a good version of Saveen and the two set about doing good deeds. Then the two heroes get married and everything starts to fall apart.

This tale is worth the asking price alone. While not original, the idea of one small event changing the total future of our universe is still an intriguing one. And having Tomas Stone as an individual with mixed race parents adds an interesting twist to the alternate universe. But, some things are just meant to be and even though the events have changed some forces in nature can not be altered - including love. The end result is a gripping, if somewhat by the numbers tale, which does not disappoint.

The other stories in this collection are okay - nothing to get too excited about, but certainly worth a quick read. There is a fairly average story set on the Moon; an interesting tale about a woman who turns anything she touches to ice; and a fun adventure about a big Tom Strong fan.

If you haven't experienced the weird world of Tom Strong this is as good a place to start as any. Well worth buying.

Nick Smithson

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