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Reader beware, there be spoilers ahead!
DC are setting expectations high for Strange Adventures. Touting the creative team’s Eisner Awards last year for Mister Miracle, the promo material for Strange Adventures is name-dropping some heavy-hitters in classic and newly classic DC comic literature: Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and DC: The New Frontier.
The official solicit boasts:
“[T]he comic book of 2019 was Mister Miracle. The comic book of 2020 will be Strange Adventures.”
And DC states: “[R]eaders will talk about [Strange Adventures] for years to come.”
So, right out of the gate, expectations are high. True, King wrote lasting and meaningful narratives in Vision and Mister Miracle. His work on Batman ended up a little rocky in the land of public reception, though. This is all to say that if this work doesn’t meet up to hype, there’s nobody to blame but the DC PR people themselves.
At the end of Issue #1, we were left with a mild cliffhanger. Mister Terrific’s “Fairplay” emblazened arm reaching into the final panel to take on Adam Strange’s task of basically performing self opposition research. There was an incident with an activist who claimed Adam Strange was a war criminal and his bestselling memoirs a lie. Adam Strange was attempting to get in front that story and get the truth out. Or, at least his version of the truth. You see, early on the theme of truth, the nature of truth, differing points of view, and whether truth is relative are woven through this story.
Issue #2 is where Mister Terrific’s work begins in earnest. As in the first issue, and presumably as shall continue throughout this 12 issue series, the narrative jumps between Strange’s current book tour, illustrated by the Rockwellian work of Gerads, and Strange’s struggle in the war on Rann, illustrated by Shaner. To describe Shaner’s work, nobody sums it up better than Tom King himself: “Doc has that rare gift, that insane ability to draw comics the way people imagine comics to be…. If you go up to any person on the street and have them close their eyes and think of what a comic looks like, they’re seeing Doc Shaner panels.”
The two interwoven illustration styles keep the whole story interesting and refresh the eyes with each turn of the page. The two timelines also keep the pace interesting. King’s pacing has become somewhat signature in that he takes a slower deliberate route through his stories. This book is setting up drama and suspense. It’s a mystery and you’re suppose to hold on and pay attention until the end. That may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but luckily Death Metal is on sale this week also so you can get all your action fix. I’m willing to hold on because I’ve seen the pay offs in Vision and Mister Miracle before. For the most part, Issue #2 involves Mister Terrific training his body through various cardio and strength work outs and his mind with his floating drones that quiz him on all knowledge under the sun like Trivial Pursuit. There are glimpses of action. While on the phone with Bruce Wayne, the Dark Knight knocks out a pig-masked thug. While quizzing, Mister Terrific wins a boxing bout. But the real action comes in Doc Shaner’s pages back on Rann. This is also where we get out dose of otherworldly, 1950s vibing, sci-fi flavor. Flash Gordon eat your heart out.
This is all adding up to me to indicate that Strange Adventures may very well be as good, if not better than my favorite King title, Vision. Similar intrigue and drama, more sci-fi action. How could we go wrong, right?
Strange Adventures Issue #2 (2020) left unanswered questions for the next 10 issues. Where this can be frustrating for some stories, there’s nothing but anticipation for this reader. Time will tell if the title lives up to DC’s hype, but I’m enjoying the ride for now!
What is the truth about Adam Strange? When an activist who publicly accused him of war crimes ends up dead, the public begins to doubt Strange’s stories about his adventures on the planet Rann-and he’s even starting to doubt himself. It’s going to take a special investigator to get the truth, and he’s going to have to tear apart Adam Strange’s life and reputation to do it. A special miniseries set on two worlds, it takes two artists to bring Strange Adventures to life. Mitch Gerads tackles the earthbound sequences, while Doc Shaner launches us into space. And it’s all written by Tom King, the Eisner Award-winning writer who brought you Mister Miracle, Omega Men, and Sheriff of Babylon.
Item #:1918282 Diamond code:FEB200415 UPC:76194136543500211