No New Comics 2020 – Day Eleven: STRANGE ADVENTURES #1
STRANGE ADVENTURES #1
Dandy Don the Valant has yet to let me know his thoughts on the last issue of the Immortal Hulk. That’s usually a sure sign that he hasn’t read it. One of the perks of being an essential employee is that I’m not cooped up in the house all day. I can still get out and go to work.
With traffic slower than normal for a Saturday, I left work early in search of a few pantry items. In my hometown staples like flour and rice have become scarce. Even Russell Parkway seemed particularly bare as I drove toward Parkway Station. Normally, I don’t frequent the Kroger there but it would give me a convenient excuse to check out the comic shop at the end of the plaza.
Someone had told me that they were going to attempt some kind of limited weekend sale. With the promise of big discounts now would be the time to check out their back issues. I’m missing a large part of my New 52 Aquaman run. I must have loaned it to someone. Who, though I can’t for the life of me remember.
I parked closer to the Kroger than normal and made the trek uphill toward the comic shop. While it seemed to be deserted from a distance, a few cars parked around gave me hope that they were in fact open. Reaching the door I tried it but as feared it was locked. Maybe I needed only to knock, perhaps they are offering curbside? With a few loud bangs on the glass door I peered inside looking for any sign of movement. After a few minutes I turned to head toward Kroger.
That’s when it hit me, the familiar smell of unwashed bodies. A smell every comic reader knows. The smell of sweat and filth mixed with Axe Body Spray. Normally only encountered in High School gymnasiums and comic conventions. The smell seemed to be growing stronger the longer I stood there. Quickly, I began to look around for the source of the stench and there it was.
At the foot of the hill stumbling from the bushes came a figure that can only be described as the typical Fan Boy. Wearing a Flash shirt he began to shamble up the hill toward the comic shop. He was followed by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It looked as if the whole Justice League had come but these weren’t JLA members. The far off stare coupled with their disheveled appearance meant only one thing. These were Marvel Zombies. Marvel fans who had failed to properly ration now walking the Earth in search of new books. Back Issues and rice be damned! I slowly worked my way around them to my car and left. Seeing this I think I’ll read some DC, not wishing to find myself overcome. I wonder if Dandy Don has my Aquaman issues?
Strange Adventures #1
Writer Tom King
Interior Artists Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc’ Shaner
Published by DC Comics
Adam Strange is one of my favorite Silver Age characters, and to say I was a little excited for this series is an understatement. King, Gerads and Shaner are superstar creators who have regularly delivered. Be it on The Vision, Mr. Miracle or Batman they are creators to watch. With that said though King often breaks down the characters he writes, injecting a hardy does of realism into fictional characters. This often leads to groundbreaking heartfelt stories that end up changing the way characters are perceived. Sadly, it also leads to over drawn out stories that lose the reader and cause a backlash among the fan base. Which will Strange Adventures be?
STRANGE ADVENTURES #1
The story opens with our hero Adam Strange at a book signing. Being a public hero Adam Strange has capitalized on his reputation and written a book about his adventures on Rhann. This has led him to be the daily darling of the media. Now, in a media blitz promoting his book, Adam Strange is confronted by his past in the form of an anti-war protester. Did Adam Strange really save Rhann from the Pykkts or was he an oppressor waging war on rightful rulers of Rhann? From there the mystery only deepens when the body of Adam Strange’s accuser is found. All eyes turn toward our hero, did he kill to save his name and reputation?
That’s the premise of King’s story in a nutshell. Is Adam Strange really a war hero or a warmonger? King seems to gravitate toward the hardest subjects to tackle in comics, be it war crimes, PTSD, isolation whatever. While this has given us some of the best comics in recent years it has also led to a lot of us questioning whether some of this material is suitable for comics? To be fair this is something that the comic community has been dealing with since DC’s “Identity Crisis”, just what is a bridge too far in comics?
One thing for sure, questions of subject matter aside, Tom King is one of the best writers working in comics today. His dialog is always spot on and his stories seemed ripped from the headlines. This combination gives the books he writes a realism that is not present in most superhero books being published. This first issue Strange Adventures is no different, only this time it’s coupled with flashbacks of Adam’s war with the Pykkts.
King has managed to pair himself with two superstar artists for this series and puts their skills to good use. Mitch Gerads illustrates the scenes within the book where Adam Strange and Alanna have returned to Earth. His style brings a gritty realism to the book that adds weight to the seriousness of the subject matter. Gerads art lacks the hard sure lines of Shaner. Instead, Gerads focuses on vairing line and gradations to give his characters and backgrounds weight. While this works beautifully and gives the book realistic, almost indie feel to it it’s not the cleanest look.
Shaner on the other hand is tasked with drawing the sections of the book where Adam Strange is in action. These are flashbacks of the war against the Pykkts on Rhann. Where Gerads art is gritty and contemporary, Shaner’s is clean and classic . Shaner manages to channel greats both living and dead. His art possesses the clean lines of Rude and Toth while not being a slave to them. Shaner is a modern classic comic artist in the finest since.
Overall, Strange Adventures manages to be a strange book. Written with King’s typical flair paired with two completely different artists this could be one to watch. With the shutdown putting an end to shipping hopefully this will come back sooner than later. While I’ve long been a fan of this Silver Age Icon Adam Strange I’m interested to see where King and team take this. Hopefully, they will be able to put our hero back together after they deconstruct him.
STRANGE ADVENTURES #1