Strange Adventures #5
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Strange Adventures has had two main plot lines. One featuring Adam Strange on Rann, where he has previously rallied warring factions of the planet together to take on the Pykkts invasion. The other half of the series has dealt with Mr. Terrific investigating possible war crimes committed by Adam Strange, and possibly Rann as a whole. There have also been hints about Adam Strange’s daughter and how she ties into all this, but nothing has been explained fully on that front yet. The series has been a duality of showing Adam Strange as a hero and also the possibility that the war Adam fought may not be as just as it seems.
Mr. Terrific’s story takes a break in this issue as the focus is on Strange’s past actions on Rann and a new plotline. Strange’s actions on Rann cover the common ground for the series so far, as he tries and gains allies from yet another faction on Rann. This time it is the rock species that lives underground in Rann. Strange and his wife have to stay underground for a “day” (which underground a day counts as a month) waiting for their answer for help. This part of the book focuses more on the relationship between the married couple rather than the politics of Rann, it is still there but plays a smaller part. The Earth half of the book reveals that the Pykkts have arrived on Earth. The American government holds hearings wondering if The Justice League is up to the task on combating the invading force and eventually decides to put Adam Strange in charge of a new taskforce
This is another strong issue, but judging it against the others, so far, it is a bit of a slow down. Adam Strange’s adventure on Rann is a bit of a retread (with a new species) of the previous desert story (but this time it is underground). Missing out on Mr. Terrific is also a letdown since that storyline had the most agency. I want to know more about the possible war crimes committed and if the Pykkts are really the evil force they seem to be. It is also strange to see the Justice League of America justify their actions with the incoming Pykkts invasion. They typically don’t get congressional approval to fight aliens, and why would anyone have a reason to distrust Superman or think Adam Strange could do a better job than him). I understand Tom King is playing with real-world political parallels here, but the analogy seems a bit uneven. Maybe this will make more sense later, but as it stands this was a plot element that I did not care for too much. Thankfully, the issue ends with a hint about how a certain plot point finally ties into the series. Overall this is a slight step down in an otherwise incredible maxi-series that I still have full confidence in.
Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner are an incredible pair of artists. They could not be more unlike each other in so many ways, yet their work just complements each other in the best ways. If DC is set on having multiple art teams on their books (which seems to be the case in what I’ve been reading) they need to look at Strange Adventures on how to put multiple creative forces together that create a whole piece, rather than a mishmash of art to rush a comic out. There is nothing but praise for the art on this book, and I want this team to tackle more together in the future.