Strange Adventures by Tom King

details
Title: Strange Adventures.
Writer(s): Tom King.
Artist(s): Mitch Gerads & Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: December 14th, 2021.
Pages: 376.
Genre(s): Comics, Superheroes, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779512031.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

thoughts

The past always finds a way to torment you in the most inconspicuous fashion. It crawls out of the darkest recesses of the mind and sends you spiraling straight into the eye of an emotional storm. While deep within you might be compelled to seek help and do everything in your power to rid yourself of such agony, instinct sends you down a lonely and self-destructive path, especially as you convince yourself of the futility of the situation. For some, keeping secrets simply seems like the most appropriate response. That is until one of the world’s smartest superheroes comes digging into your past to find out the truth. Collecting issues #1-12 of this limited comic book series, writer Tom King, artist Mitch Gerads, and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner tag together to deliver a compelling and intimate story of a hero who might have lost his footing.

What is Strange Adventures about? The story is centered around Adam Strange, a man born on Earth who was teleported to the planet Rann where he finds himself in the middle of an invasion with his jetpack and laser gun. Having successfully saved the people of Rann during a terrifying planetary war, he is greeted on Earth with love and praise as he publishes a book called Strange Adventures. During a book signing event, he, however, is accused of having committed war crimes by a random person who happens to be found dead the next day. What follows is a superhero investigation where Mr. Terrific is tasked to uncover the truth behind this battle on Rann and determine the fate of Adam Strange’s life on Earth as another invasion is impending and determine if the world is amongst a war criminal or a distressed hero.

“When your time comes, Mr. Terrific… Who’s going to hold you?”

— Tom King

Once more, writer Tom King offers a thought-provoking deconstruction of superheroes through this latest stand-alone adventure as he focuses his attention on Adam Strange’s character. Through a disjointed dual-timeline narrative, one exploring current-day events while the other revisits core moments during the planetary war alongside his now Rann wife, Alanna, King explores the dichotomic nature of the hero’s life. In fact, the story heavily focuses on the conflictual identity he embraces as the hero of two worlds, the facet he tries to maintain while hiding the controversial persona that led him to make difficult decisions during traumatic times, and the romantic issues he has cultivated with Alanna because of the barrier he’s built around himself. Throughout the story, although writer Tom King mildly fails to immerse the reader and allow them to properly connect with the characters because of the underlying disconnect felt in the narration and characterization, he explores Adam Strange’s life and exposes the unbearable pressures of being a hero of the people while trying to pursue his own happiness.

On top of writer Tom King’s excellent depiction of human nature, even within superheroes, as he brilliantly reminds readers of their humanity, he keeps a steady and slow pace dripping with intrigue that has you sitting on the edge, continually questioning Adam Strange’s heroism and wondering about the veracity of the words spoken by the hero. Mr. Terrific’s character does steal the show as the primary investigator of Adam Strange’s life through his calculated, rational, and straightforward confrontations, giving readers the chance to better understand the cold yet fascinating character that he is. The artwork, however, plays for a lot in this story’s ambitious yet captivating premise. Original, fantastic, and beautifully organized, with artist Evan “Doc” Shaner drawing the vivid, utopic, and colourful past timeline, while artist Mitch Gerads portrays the more intimate, depressive, and suspicious current-day timeline, they do a phenomenal job in allowing writer Tom King’s vision to be brought to life. While the resolution isn’t spectacularly compelling, described as very matter of fact, the journey makes for a fantastic and original story around heroes, war, and love.

Strange Adventures is a compelling, authentic, and riveting foray into the life of Adam Strange as his actions are scrutinized, his past demystified, and his integrity elucidated to determine if he was heroic or disgraceful during a planetary war.


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8 thoughts on “Strange Adventures by Tom King

  1. I like the idea of different artists tackling the different timelines. Seems a good way to help folks keep them straight. And it’s an interesting cover, both the old school look to it and the split down the middle. Is Black Label the DC brand for more standalone stories? I always love having more of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! I love when the artwork style of each artist is justified in some way for the story’s purpose. It makes everything way more coherent in the end. And yes, Black Label is DC’s stand-alone and adult stories. I’m often tempted to try them all because of that too. There’s less the… “commitment” factor of the other ongoing series.

      Like

  2. Great review, Lashaan! I had never heard of these comic books, but their plot seems quite interesting! I think that having the two artists draw the different timelines is a great choice – in the end it is also pretty much what they do in movies when they bring the audience back to the past and use, for instance, muted colours – and it is quite uncommon, right?

    Liked by 1 person

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