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Welcome to Tranquility #4

Posted: Friday, March 9, 2007
By: Chris Murman



Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Neil Googe

Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm


I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: This book that I have been chronicling is one of the best kept secrets in comics right now. Part of me is wondering how long it will take for this book to blow up to its full potential. We are slowly getting there, and along that road the book will take some twists and turns.

This particular issue is noticeably darker than previous ones.

Gone is the happy go lucky neighborhood where retired heroes (who are called Maxis in this particular world) and villains would bicker about whose lawn looks better or the food in the local diner. This issue is a straight up gaze into the darker side of Tranquility.

It begins with a sobering look in on Leona, the granddaughter of one of the original great Maxis, a speedster in her own right. After finding out she’s pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, who now calls himself Sweet Sally, the former child TV star tried to take her own life. Her Bible-thumping mother isn’t too happy about it either. After a couple of heated exchanges in the hospital between concerned parties and the sheriff, who is quickly stealing the show in Simone’s story, sanity reigns only to be disturbed by Sally and the other emo teenager Maxis storm the gates to get her out.

What makes this story a fantastic read are the many onion layers to this community that has apparently masqueraded as a quaint little town for too long. Generations of townsfolk clash all over these particular pages and seem to be headed to war over the way the town is run.

The exchange between the hospital employees and Mayor Fury and his wife Pink Bunny was especially poignant. Nothing like having a pornographic calendar shoved in your face to make the blood boil. Also boiling is the lid being blown off the dead reporter of The Tattler and his disdain for Maxis. I don’t think we are done with that particular thread as well. Of course, the major feud about to reach war status is this gang of young Maxis lead by Sally. Fury has been desperately trying to keep the peace, and he may have to put his convictions to the test before bloodshed reaches critical mass.

One thing that keeps my praise of this title in check is obviously the various plot points mudding up the flow of the book. The death of beloved Maxi Mr. Articulate has apparently been put on the back burner to the further developments going on in Tranquility. With only four issues, Welcome to Tranquility seems to be juggling too many apples at the moment. I do not recall if this book is just a mini-series or an ongoing, but I would prefer if Simone would tie up some of the loose ends first before moving on.

Googe’s work continues to be great in the art department. His detail in crafting this universe is very apparent, and he continues to show a bevy of colorful characters which further add to this tapestry. Because of the name the writer has made for herself and the following it calls with it, I feel that Googe may get overshadowed a bit. I have a feeling, however, as this book progresses, this artist will carve out his own calling that may spill on to further work.

Part of me wishes we had stayed in the “fun” atmosphere a bit longer before taking this darker turn in the story. I got a kick out of discussing this story with friends and laughing at all the aforementioned characters and their relationships together living in this retirement community. I will say, though, this book has captured my attention and made its way to the top of my reading pile when it hits the stands.

How far will the dark side of Tranquility continue? Only time can tell. My only hope is this book will continue on for dozens of issues as we further see that the town of Tranquility is not what we thought it was.



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