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Tom Strong

 #20: How Tom Stone Got Started


Writer: Alan Moore
Pencils: Jerry Ordway
Inks: Karl Story
Colors: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Todd Klein

Cover date: June 2003

Plot Summary:
Part one of a three-part story arc. Jerry Ordway (who appeared in Tom Strong #5, too) will be the artist for all three issues.

Tom Strong is visited by a strange lady who tells him that on the verge of his birth, the time stream has divided itself into two directions. Since then, two timelines are running in parallel. Flashback to 1899: Tom's mother, Susan, is leaving her boyfriend Foster Parallax and marries Sinclair Strong, a scientist. Foster gives her a farewell present: a drop of chromium, a fluid which he believes to be able to divide the time.

Now we see Tom's origin story, known from #1, but with a little difference: Sinclair Strong dies during the shipwreck, Susan and the slave Tomas Stone are the sole survivors. They conceive a son, Tom Stone. Like Tom Strong, the boy develops great strength thanks to the Goloka roots and like Tom Strong, he goes to Millennium City when he's a young man. There, he falls in love with journalist Greta Gabriel.

Tom Stone meets young inventor Paul Saveen. The duo teams up and together they fight crime in Millennium City. Later, there's a double marriage at Attabar Teru: Tom Stone is marrying Greta, Paul Saveen is marrying Dhalua, the Ozu chief's daughter. Paul and Dhalua conceive a daughter called Tesla.

The strange lady tells Tom that his mother had done a very stupid thing. To avert that, she wants Tom to travel back in time with her and kill his mother...

This is an intelligent example for a typical 'What if?' story, filled with appearances by characters known from earlier issues. A nice gimmick, if you've read them. Note the detailed imitation of Alex Ross' cover for issue #1.