The Woods (Vol. 1-9) by James Tynion IV – Graphic Novel Review

Goodreads: The Woods (Vol. 1-9)
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Sports, Manga

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.

I was feeling a little unwell on Monday and so I took a sick day and spent the whole day in bed reading. While I “should’ve” been reading the ARC for Mrs. Everything, I found myself looking at the graphic novels in my collection and randomly started The Woods, unsure of what I’d encounter but I was intrigued enough by the premise and the artwork. Next thing I know, it was late evening, I hadn’t left my bed all day, and I had come to the final episodes of the series. This graphic novel sucked me right in. It’s extremely weird, a lot more graphic than I thought, but really enjoyable sci-fi/fantasy/horror that I just couldn’t put it down. I’m not a big fan of horror but this one wasn’t so bad. Although the art work definitely accentuated the horrifying and gruesome aspects of the story. The art work wasn’t the type that I’m normally attracted to in graphic novels (i.e. modern, clean and sharp lines) but this rough style and coloring really suited the story. The colors and the drawing style really leant the comic a rough, dark air which was fitting with the plot, and it reminded me a lot of the work in earlier comics, especially the superhero ones. **Not that I’m an expert or anything**

The Woods begins 25 minutes after Bay Point has been transported to this alien moon thick with dense woodland, and we go back in time a bit to learn about the main characters in the story, and to find out what was happening prior to the school’s vanishing. From then on a lot happens right away and also the whole storyline moves very quickly. There is a mysterious alien triangle that captivates one of the students, terrifying bloodthirsty monsters start coming out of the woods, and a group of five students band together to journey into the woods and to find out where they are, how they got there and how they can get home.

The characters in this story were so diverse; there were many queer characters, from such a wide mix of race and socioeconomic backgrounds. I grew attached to so many of them along the way! I loved how well we got to know the main characters in the story. We get an insight into defining moments in their lives, including parts of their childhood, and because of that their character arcs were really rich. Although quite a few characters irritated me at the start of the story, Karen especially, I thought their character growth throughout the story was really well done and my perspectives on them really changed by the end. No doubt though, my favorites were Ben and (surprisingly) Calder! I love it when we see softer sides to seemingly indifferent or tough characters and these two wormed their way into my heart!

The worldbuilding of this highly bizarre alien planet was truly spectacular and I loved how there ended up being different towns that we discover along the way that were all so full of history–of the people who inhabited the towns and how long they’d been there–and it’s slowly revealed that pockets of people throughout the history of civilization have been magicked to this moon. I won’t lie–there is a lot that happens in this story that leaves you questioning what you’re reading and wondering whether it’s possible for a story to get even more bizarre than it already was in the beginning (spoiler: it’s possible). I also really can’t get into the specifics about what happens without giving the story away, but I was so invested in the characters and their story. While a part of me would’ve also been satisfied for them to just build new lives and stay on this moon, I was really happy with how the author brought everything together for a satisfying conclusion. But I kid you not when I say it’s really bizarre. 😂

Overall, I was really satisfied with this series and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I won’t say I recommend it to everyone because it definitely won’t be to (probably) the majority’s tastes, but if you’re up for highly weird, sci-fi/horror stories with lots of action, then I’d suggest giving it a try!

Have you read The Woods? Does it sound like something you’d be interested in? Also, do you have graphic novel recs? Let’s chat 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Woods (Vol. 1-9) by James Tynion IV – Graphic Novel Review

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