Review: Welcome to Tranquility

Rob Ayers Rob Ayers
Contributor
September 6th, 2015

Resides in Vienna, Austria where he constantly wrangles his weird world into shape as a comic book artist, storyboard artist, writer & performer.

Review: Welcome to Tranquility
Comics
0
Price:
Excellent

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On September 6, 2015
Last modified:September 6, 2015

Summary:

Can't recommend it enough if you're looking for a fun, short series to brighten your day & make you feel great.

Price:
Excellent

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On September 6, 2015
Last modified:September 6, 2015

Summary:

Can't recommend it enough if you're looking for a fun, short series to brighten your day & make you feel great.

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It's another Slow on the Draw Review!

There’s this person named Gail Simone, and she wrote something called Welcome to Tranquility, and a few other comics.  You may have heard of her.

Of course you have!

Gail Simone is one of the most prolific writers we have in comics today, constantly cooking up great stories for the masses since the early 2000’s, and we’ve gladly eaten up everything offered.

One of those offers was a 12 issue series called Welcome to Tranquility. Many of you probably know this Wildstorm title, and enjoyed the heck out of it when it came out in 2007.  At the time, however, I missed it completely, much to my dismay.

A regretful misstep, if only because I am a rabid fan of Gail Simone’s work, and I have tried to read everything she’s done since I first saw her name on a little miniseries called Villains United. That series quickly became my favorite corner of the Infinite Crisis build-up & event. I wanted more of that magic! And I soon got it when Miss Simone gave us The Secret Six in 2007. Now, of course I had heard of Gail Simone, seeing as her name had been bestowed accolades upon accolades since 2003 when she made Birds of Prey one of the hottest books on the shelf, but I was not nearly as solvent in the pocket at that time, and had to choose the titles of my pull-box very carefully. Unfortunately, the Birds didn’t make it. I could easily make a retro-active article on how Slow On The Draw I felt when I finally picked an issue of BoP, and immediately kicked my self all the way to comic shop to start at the beginning.

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So on and on I went, steadfastly snapping up any book she wrote, and being happy as a clam with my decision. Then I wrote that article on Brubaker & Phillips’ Fatale, and it got me thinking: are there other projects I somehow missed from the writers on my “will-most-definitely-be-the-artist-for-someday” list?

And lo, Welcome to Tranquility swam up to meet me.

Cover of Issue 1 of Welcome to Tranquility written by Gail Simone, and art by Neil Googe.

Cover of Issue 1 of Welcome to Tranquility written by Gail Simone, art by Neil Googe.

I couldn’t believe it. On the one hand I felt cheated that I hadn’t gotten as much Gail Simone as I could have, had I known, and on the other hand I felt like I was just handed a gift from straight out of the ether.

And that’s almost exactly how Welcome to Tranquility played as I read it. An incredible, cheery present, a random-act-of-storytelling of you will. I’m going to focus on the first 6-issue arc, seeing as I’m still reading the last 6-issue arc, but I feel comfortable in breaking journalistic law & passing judgment on it before all the facts are in. Judgment: it’s supercool.

So the first arc, where we are introduced to the main characters, the town of Tranquility, and the way of life there, unfolds much like most of Simone’s arcs: fluidly & effortlessly. Also, for this book, charmingly.

A quick digression. One of my favorite things about Gail Simone’s stories is how I’m never sure what I’m going to get at the beginning of any given tale. She, more so than most, has the grand ability to traipse into any corner of the storytelling playground she chooses & expertly give us whatever she finds there, be it dark, tragic, funny, horrific, heroic, bombastic, realistic, romantic, shiny, spandex, plain-clothes, it doesn’t matter. It always rings true. Maybe because she heads into all these different territories by letting her characters lead the way. At least that’s my theory. Naturally there’s a boatload of talent & experience behind it as well, but the execution of each project seems to hinge on the characters of her stories & how easily we, the audience, relate & sympathize with them.

Welcome to Tranquility is no different. We’re brought in via an instant connection to the sheriff of the town, a Miss Thomasina “Tommy” Lindo, who fits an arch-type to be sure, but in a very natural way so as to make us feel comfortable & secure in her character as the lead of this story. In fact, all the characters feel familiar in the most natural & comfortable way, letting us get cozy with them as soon as they walk on-panel. This is a gift & a toll. A gift in that I didn’t have to wade through pages of set-up & exposition to get to know anyone. I simply opened the first issue, and I was suddenly among friends & family. It’s a toll in that it extracts even more stress & pain when some of the characters you love inevitably reveal themselves to be incredibly villainous, regardless of their intentions, or when the victims of those villains are brought low & hurt or killed.

The plot to the first arc of Welcome to Tranquility is a clean whodunit amongst a town of retired, puttering old superheroes (and a couple reformed-through-old-age supervillains), or "Maxis", as they’re referred to here. Sheriff Lindo is tasked with the mission of discovering who killed Mr. Articulate in an atmosphere free from any average kind of justice or due-process, since everyone is or has been a defender of world peace on a global scale, and most of the people she’s charged with protecting & serving have superpowers of their own (all while she has no powers outside of her indomitable will & sense of right & wrong).

Overall, this is a fun book. A fun book & a comfortable book. Simone pulls many clever little storytelling tricks throughout the series that lead the reader into a very fun & comfortable place. Tricks that I only caught because I myself try to tell good stories in comics, and I study the heck out of the masters.

And I would be unforgivably remiss if I didn’t mention the smooth & beautiful art of Neil Googe. There is not one false note on any of the pages of Welcome to Tranquility. Not one line out of place. I hate to be biased, but we all have our personal preferences, right? I like a rough, kind of stark, or messy look to my comics. I’m not against clean & slick, I just have a preference. Neil Googe works in clean & slick lines that are always in motion, while standing pristine on the page, and he does it so well I didn’t even realize I was completely captivated by a style I’m normally not captivated by until I went back for a second look to write this article. It’s simply the perfect look for this story, and done flawlessly.

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So, thank you Gail & Neil. I hope everyone here will be thanking them soon as well, because I cannot recommend Welcome to Tranquility enough if your looking to take a stroll on the sunnier side of comics with some paper-based friends & family.

Let us know what you think of it in the comments below, or find me on Twitter.

 

 

Rob Ayers is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @S_R_Ayers

Welcome to Tranquility

  • 5

Excellent

Can't recommend it enough if you're looking for a fun, short series to brighten your day & make you feel great.

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