Tom Strong #36 (2006)

It’s Alan Moore’s farewell to the ABC Universe. That means that this is a comic that Alan Moore has invested real passion into, a comic he really cares about. Which means, of course, that it’s sensational.

Listen, I could analyze this comic and look at what specifically makes it so great. And it’s certainly great, with an absolutely gorgeous script by Alan Moore and strikingly amazing artwork by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. But with a really great Moore script, you just want to sit back and glory in the poetry and beauty of Moore’s words and thoughts.

Like: "And then Millennium’s diva Quinta Desrault let that magnificent voice soar over the multitudes. Ridiculously, the song was ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.’ Just as ridiculously, everyone started weeping without really understanding why. People…living and dead people…started to sing along in a chorus that was like jubilant thunder."

Jubilant thunder. Only from the pen of Alan Moore.

Or: "And then the whole fantastic weave of life and existence that she’s spinning seems to turn to the most wonderful bedtime story… and it’s like the room gets gradually dimmer… and your mom’s voice just gets softer and softer… it all gets further, further away…"

Or there’s the wonderfully quiet way he sums up the lives and futures of his characters in very small bits and pieces and vignettes that seem to sum up the totality of his characters.

Or the sweet and clever revelation in this issue. It makes sense in part because of the characters, but more because it just fits the archetype of the characters.

Or the very sweet scene when everyone’s walking to Promethea’s house and Tom Strong meets an ordinary family.

In some ways, this issue can be seen as Moore’s counterpart to the Infinite Crisis. Or, what if the Infinite Crisis were written by the greatest comic book writer in the English language. And the answer is that Tom Strong #36 does the Infinite Crisis in a wonderfully graceful, intelligent, majestic way that very few writers can approach.

One lament about the America’s Best Comics line has been that the Alan Moore who brought us Watchmen, Miracleman, From Hell and V For Vendetta was slumming and doing good work but not his typical brilliant work. But in this issue, Moore rises back to his classic level of work. This is a majestic comic that only Alan Moore could write.


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