There are a lot of comics out there but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we take look at DC Black Label’s “Strange Adventures.”
Who’s This By?
“Strange Adventures” is the wonderful concoction of writer Tom King and artists Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner. Over the last decade Tom King has grown to become a real name to look for in comics. He has a way of reinvigorating beloved comic book characters, whether it’s a stunning run on a major title like “Batman” or bringing about a a whole new life for C level characters like Mister Miracle or Marvel’s The Vision. Like those two previous characters, he saw fit to take DC’s Adam Strange and do a new miniseries that takes this character seriously. Teaming up with multi-series collaborator Mitch Gerads to bring this book to life seems like a no-brainer. Their work on “Mister Miracle,” “Batman,” and “The Sheriff of Babylon” is some of the most talked about in comics for the last decade. Gerads style can take on various forms, but tends to walk this beautiful balance between hyper-realism, and classic comic book. He has a true talent for creating perfectly detailed characters and settings with a knack for punching them up to a more heightened reality for the medium. It isn’t hyperbole to say that he is one of the greatest artists currently working in comics. Sharing the job of fully creating this world is Evan “Doc” Shaner who brings his own style to the series as well. Shaner has worked on “The Flash,” “Young Justice”, and “Ghostbusters” for IDW, among others. With Gerads and Shaner splitting up illustrating different parts of the story set at different times, their distinct style for both drawing and coloring their work really makes for an incredible look at how a book can span an incredible amount of time and give us a very clear look at how the story can move back and forth and never become muddy in its telling. This trifecta of incredible creatives make for one of the most interesting and unexpected finds on any comic store shelf.
What’s This All About?
Adam Strange is the hero of Rann, whose adventures have made him famous throughout the galaxy. Upon leading his adopted home of Rann in a glorious victory in a war for their planet and species, Strange and his wife Alanna retire to Earth. Greeted as heroes, with all the accompaniments bestowed on those of similar ilk, not all is as wonderful as it appears. Decisions made by Strange on Rann come back to haunt him and the greater DC universe. Heroes like Mr. Terrific, Superman, Batman, and others come into the fold to unravel this ever-growing narrative.
It questions Strange’s decisions as a hero. It takes a deeper look at his psyche and his life as a whole. What kind of husband is Adam Strange? Father? How far will his fellow heroes go in their continued support or possible doubting of him as a good man and hero. If you are familiar with Tom King’s writing you know these questions and more are thing he loves to delve into and really examine from every angle and through every lens; no matter how uncomfortable it gets.
So, Why Should I Read This?
A Flash Gordon type of superhero who debuted literally on the cusp of the Golden and Silver Age of comics. Adam Strange is a jet pack wearing, laser gun toting, high-flying superhero who travels from Earth to various worlds, and back again, and it’s all in a day’s work. King and co. have decided to update this character for the modern age. For a character who has spanned nearly every era of DC Comics, has been seen in various forms of the small screen, and in video games; his name is not one that most casual, or even avid readers will immediately know. This is just one of aspects that makes this work so well. Whether you are well-versed in the character, don’t know him at all, or anywhere in between, this story will work for you.Continued below
The brilliance of this series is not something that can be quickly discussed with a surface level explanation. It is the type of story that truly needs to be experienced. With the turn of each page the reader learns how deep this story goes into its characters minds and hearts. If you have read King and Gerads “The Vision” or “Mister Miracle” you already know how much they can put into a twelve issue series, and “Strange Adventures” is no different. They have elevated yet another superhero to a point in which no reader could have imagined or even thought to ask for. King obviously loves the Cosmic/New Gods end of the DC Universe as it is a well he has returned to more than once. As someone who can take or leave those stories, this team has caught me in their grasp every step of the way with these stories.
“Strange Adventures is all at once breath-taking, heart-breaking, and nothing short of compelling right from the start. It has you intrigued by everyone’s motives and really doubting, or at the very least, questioning even the most beloved heroes.
How Can You Read It?
Issue #9 of 12 drops today, 3/31/21. It and issues #1-8 of “Strange Adventures” are available anywhere you buy comic books. Once the series has wrapped be sure to look out for the trade paperback, and if history repeats itself, a hardcover edition.