There are a lot of lies going around (Strange Adventures #10 Comics Review)
Strange Adventures #10
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Strange Adventures took a bit of a swerve last issue. Basically painting the themes of war in a new color. It was a bit of a jarring shift as previously they showed that the terms “war hero” and “war criminal” are actually two in the same (depending on the angle looking at it). It was worrying that suddenly the comic was turning into a pro war comic. The Pykkts were simply seen as an evil invading force. Murder and genocidal acts against them were all shown as justified. There was no grey area at all. And with the comic being seen as an allegory for the Iraq war, it made everything seem uncomfortable and extremely problematic. However, that was a single issue and only one 12th of a whole. There was a chance Tom King was trying to say something a bit more, and that another swerve in expectations was about to occur. Issue 10 certainly changes the story, but in a completely different direction than the war allegory of the previous 9 issues was laying out.
Talking about the story here would completely spoil a major turning point in the entire series. Adam Strange is still highlighted here, fighting two wars. There is still a dual focus on what happened in the past on Rann and what is happening now on Earth. The Pykkts are still the main force that is attacking in both plotlines. Mr. Terrific is the narrator in this issue, through a letter he has written. The letter provides context for the entire series thus far, and is essentially his findings during the investigation. This issue the reader finds out exactly what Adam Strange has done, and what happened to his daughter. The revelation sheds a new light and context on the entire story.
I enjoy political sci-fi comics. And Tom King’s Strange Adventures has provided that for me. However, the Iraq war allegory seems to now be taking a backseat, and the new information learned in this issue changes the theme of the book somewhat. For those that know Tom King and his writings, the themes have been evident in much of his work. So the changes in the story are not much of a shock overall, but “strange” (pun intended) in this title. I would not say his reasoning, and new character development, for Adam Strange is shoehorned or unnatural. The clues have been there since issue one. It is just that this newest issue puts Adam Strange’s motivations and “crimes” into a new light that redefines the thematic elements. At this point it is hard to say if the new direction is a smart one. But, since the last issue seemed to be going in a problematic direction, it at least avoids that catastrophe. Tom King has two more issues to pull this all together, and it is entirely possible he does.
I am not going to go on like a broken record here. The art team of Evan Shaner and Mitch Gerads is perfect. I have echoed this thought on every review and my opinion has not changed. The only new wrinkle in their work here is some postmodern elements start creeping into their work (one panel purposely leaves the art unfinished). It is not overdone or used as a gimmick, and these new techniques are simply highlighting how everything the reader knows is coming undone. A nice new addition to an already beautiful series.
Summary There is a big twist in this issue that redefines the entire series. Motivations are now laid bare, and Adam Strange's crimes have come to light. The series is quickly moving in an intriguing direction to its conclusion.