Strange Adventures #1 is published by DC Comics under the DC Black Label, written by Tom King, with interiors and cover art from Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner, with letters from Clayton Cowles. This issue is the start of the 12-issue mini-series that follows Adam Strange, the hero of Rann. After leaving his adopted home following his victory in a great planetary war, Adam and his wife Alanna retire to Earth. The two enjoy a seemingly happy life. However, not all is as it seems, as the decisions Adam made during battles on Rann come back to haunt his family and threaten the entire DC Universe.
Adam Strange is currently on his book tour promoting his memoir, Strange Adventures, about his time on a foreign planet. Everything seems perfect for Adam with attending book signings, TV appearances, and even receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor. Things quickly begin to go sideways when a disgruntled fan accuses Adam of committing war crimes while fighting in Rann. The accusations quickly go viral, and at first, seem like nothing more than a delusional fan spouting lies. That is until the man ends up dead from a gunshot wound only an “off-world laser-type gun” could create.
As a spiritual successor to the fantastic, Eisner-winning book Mister Miracle, Strange Adventures #1 has a lot of similarities to the 2017 series. Much like Scott Free, Adam is a troubled man who hides the darkness inside of him from the public and even his family. And also like Mister Miracle, King has adapted Adam Strange for a modern world.
The character of Adam Strange debuted in November of 1958 and embodies a lot of the idyllic Retrofuturism that was popular at the time. Additionally, Adam Strange stands as an allusion to the pipedream of colonialism. His work on Rann feels disgustingly similar to the decades of conflicts partaken in by the United States despite having no justifiable cause to be involved. Additionally, calling Rann a foreign land is incredibly similar to the wording used in by 19th-century Europeans as they expanded, through colonization, their empires and nations into Africa and Asia.
Colonialism deeply impacted every aspect of countless societies throughout history. Branding Adam Strange as the all-American hero who fought in a conflict that never affected Earth is brilliant. As a white American woman who has grown up through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reading Strange Adventures #1, at times, is uncomfortable because it is a reminder that the role our country has played in global conflicts, despite what leaders will tell you, has not always been just. But that discomfort is a good thing.
Outside of the narrative itself, Strange Adventures #1 has spectacular art. Gerads and Shaner’s art work well together. Panels taking place in the present are done by Gerads, while panels taking place, in what seems to be the past on Rann, are done by Shaner. However, their styles are similar enough that the flow of the book is never disrupted. Additionally, the color palette stays relatively the same but the panels on Rann seem brighter. This could very well be because Rann is an eclectic intergalactic paradise but there could also be clues hiding in the coloring about how much of this is real.
Strange Adventures #1 is an excellent start to the series and deals with a lot of heavy themes right off the bat. The book itself excels at creating a disorienting discomfort. I can’t put my finger on what is making me so unsure about the veracity of the ongoing events but whatever it is, I commend it. This first issue will leave readers with a lot of questions and with 11 more issues to go, I can only imagine how much the mystery will continue to unfold and confound readers.
Strange Adventures #1
Strange Adventures #1 is an excellent start to the series and deals with a lot of heavy themes right off the bat. The book itself excels at creating a disorienting discomfort. I can’t put my finger on what is making me so unsure about the ongoing events but whatever it is, I commend it.