Written by: James Tynion IV
Published by: BOOM! Studios
“The Woods #11” is another build-up issue for writer James Tynion IV and artist Michael Dialynas. The pacing is slowed down by an influx of dialogue but the book is far from boring, just a bit plodding at times. Stakes must be raised for the inevitable action to have any real emotional pay-off. The greatest strengths of the series continue in fine form with Tynion IV making the characters feel real with excellent characterization and Dialynas delivering a level of polish throughout.
Strong, relatable characters are the backbone of any serious narrative and “The Woods #11” builds on top of a strong foundation. Over the past year readers have come to know the wants and fears and personalities that make up the cast of The Woods and being able to connect and empathize with these characters is tantamount to enjoying issues like this were exposition and furthering character arcs takes centre stage. If those prerequisites haven’t been met then you’ll likely find the issue to be so much doldrum.
The plot of “The Woods #11” is largely devoted to building up tension for a confrontation at the school and between Adrian’s monster army and New London. These concurrent conflicts will make for an exciting climax to this second story-arc given the care with which Tynion IV and Dialynas are setting it up.
A couple of spreads and splash pages help carry this issue allow despite the fact that most of it is devoted to talking heads. This limits how exciting the visuals can be but when there’s an opportunity to really blow you away Dialynas nails the chance. The dialogue scenes are competent and well-formed but lack the punch that has set other issues of this series on a different level. A safe bet would be on the next couples of issues bringing the goods artistically as the climax to the story begins.
“The Woods #11” and the issue before it have really felt like the first little bit of The Two Towers. The enemy army is massing at the gates but the arrows have yet to fly and swords are still being held firmly in their sheathes. In single issue format even great series can seem pedestrian because you can’t immediately find gratification for the investment you’ve made but we have every reason to believe that the pay-off to The Woods will be spectacular. With a talented writer like Tynion IV characters are sure to be compelling and Dialynas has yet to under-deliver in the visual department.
“The Woods #11” earns 7.5/10