REVIEW:’Strange Adventures,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Strange Adventures #2
Strange Adventures #2 is published by DC Comics under the Black Label imprint, written by Tom King, art by Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Splitting it’s time in two, this issue sees Mr. Terrific weight whether or not to accept a request at the behest of Batman, while the other half of this issue follows Adam Strange on one of his missions during his time on Rann.

Strange Adventures #2 creates one of the hardest situations I’ve had to deal with as a comic reviewer. Weighing the issue against the story. As I consider how I should write about this issue I’m torn. Taken as a single issue, this book struggles. But, just like its predecessor Mister Miracle, this series is clearly going the slow build route to its conclusion. Which leaves the solo issue in a bit of an awkward spot. But, be that as it may, let’s talk about Strange Adventures #2, and see if I can straighten my thoughts out as I go.

Following the events of last issue, we pick up with Mr. Terrific, who has been asked by Batman to look into whether or not Adam Strange is telling the truth about his time on Rann. This request clearly weighs on Terrific’s shoulders for a lot of reasons. And while King takes plenty of time to impress upon the reader the time it takes for Terrific to consider this request, I can’t help but feel like the decision could’ve come a bit quicker. Roughly half of this book is dedicated to Mr. Terrific, and while following him builds his character to an extent, it also feels a bit drawn out. Like King knew where he wanted the story to be at the end of this issue and used Terrific as filler to keep the pace properly.

That’s not to say that all of Mr. Terrific’s time is wasted in Strange Adventures #2. There are some great moments during these portions of the book. One particular interaction between him and Batman stands out in this book.

Strange Adventures #2

During this conversation Terrific, makes an observation about what will happen if a hero “like him” goes after Adam Strange. The implication I took from this was one of race. How would the public perceive him, a black man, challenging their current white media darling. It is a fair question. And, given all that we’ve been going through in the past weeks, makes one truly concerned about the answer. Whether much of the public would accept facts presented by Terrific against their new favorite son gives a person pause for sure.

When not following Mr. Terrific’s musings, the rest of Strange Adventures #2 takes the reader back to Rann. As Adam Strange begins his attempt to save the planet from a hostile invasion. These pages also follow the slower pace of the other half of the book. They serve to establish Adam and Alanna well as they begin this newest mission. There trust and mutual support feels truly authentic. As their mission hits snags, they rise to the challenges, as one would expect of heroes.

The art of Strange Adventures #2 augments the heavier tones of its story wonderfully. Each side of its narrative has its own distinctive tone to it. With Mr. Terrific’s panels baring a darker and grittier tone, when compared to the bright colors and classic pulp adventure feel to Strange’s. It is a stark contrast to be sure. Bearing the feeling of a reality side by side with a fiction.

The lettering in Strange Adventures #2 also serves its narrative well. All the time is clear, and easy to read. Combined with solid placement within the panels and the letter work by Cowles is as solid as ever.

So, while there are some strong moments in Strange Adventures #2, I can’t help but feel like it spent a little too much time meandering. I appreciate wanting to build character, and I expect this character work will help payoff once the finale comes around. But, as I am reviewing this issue, and not the story as a whole, it does fall a little flat. Hopefully next issue will better utilize those extra pages that come with the Black Label imprint.

Strange Adventures #2 is available June 16th wherever comics are sold.

 


Strange Adventures #2
3.5

TL;DR

So, while there are some strong moments in Strange Adventures #2, I can’t help but feel like it spent a little too much time meandering. I appreciate wanting to build character, and I expect this character work will help payoff once the finale comes around. But, as I am reviewing this issue, and not the story as a whole, it does fall a little flat. Hopefully next issue will better utilize those extra pages that come with the Black Label imprint.