When adventure calls, you answer. It’s what you do. The drive can come from some primal force deep within your core, or it can come in the form of a mysterious Zeta Beam blasting you at the most inopportune times. Answering the call to Strange Adventures #1 is a team of creative geniuses: Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Our story examines the life of one Adam Strange, an archeologist-turned-adventurer that splits his time between Earth and the distant alien planet of Rann. The parallel narrative reveals a man burdened by the weight of war and press. After returning home as an American/World/Space hero, Strange collects his experience in the war against the Rann natives known as the Pykkts. The book tour brings all manner of readers, from the uberfan to the political conspiracy theorist, and Adam endures it all with a smile and a “…Can I sign a book for you?”
The tale takes a dark turn in the wake of a verbal lashing from a man in line at a book signing that goes viral. Strange becomes becomes the target of accusations of war crimes including mass murder and torture, and even murder here on Earth. With lightning speed the limelight becomes a spotlight. Adam and his wife Alanna are put on the defense as the national conversation goes from gubernatorial to prosecutorial.
In an effort to clear his name, Strange seeks help wherever he can find it, namely from the World’s Greatest Detective. The bat turns him down, citing a conflict of interest due to past interactions, but assures Adam that he will find an adequate substitute to take up the investigation. The shocking revelation will close the book and leave craving issue two!
Those of you that have read Mister Miracle or Sheriff of Babylon will detect some familiar threads, but this is not a negative on the overall product. Tom King is a former CIA officer and writes from a different headspace than just about any other comics writer you’ll run across today. Delving into the psyche of his characters, King exposes the insecurities and struggles of even the stoutest heroes without stripping them of their authority.
The most familiar tone to the book is the art. Continuing to partner with King is artist Mitch Gerads. They have worked together on the aforementioned Mister Miracle and Sheriff of Babylon. It is a style that blends contemporary and retro tones that elicits a sense of nostalgia. These characters feel as welcome in a book released today as they would have 70 years ago. Joining the dream team is artist Evan “Doc” Shaner. His talents are leant to the panels illustrating the conflict on Rann and have a gorgeous callback to wartime propaganda. Bringing him on to flesh out the book helps to separate the tone between “then” and “now”.
As a comic shop proprietor, I am often asked for “something different” from all manner of comic consumers. The capes-and-tights crowd don’t want to stray too far, and the “I don’t read superhero comics” crowd want to get as close as possible. Strange Adventures #1 is an amazing tale that reaches both sides of the comic reading aisle. Whether you are looking for a capes-and-tights book or tend to avoid them, you will get more than you expect from this terrific team!
This is a 12-issue maxiseries.
Strange Adventures #1 releases Wednesday, March 4th, 2020!
Originally published on the Multiverse website on March 4th, 2020.