REVIEW: ‘Strange Adventures,’ Issue #8

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Strange Adventures #8 is published by DC Comics under the Black Label imprint, written by Tom King, with art by Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner and letters by Clayton Cowles. The day has finally arrived as the first Pykkt warships darken Earth’s skies. With their heroes fully engaged in defending their planet, there is little time for anything else. But fighting a war can take many forms, and some costumed heroes are pursuing a different path toward victory.

As the series marches into the final leg of its run it feels like the pieces are starting to fall into place. As the Justice League battle to defend Earth in the present, the events of the past also enter their final leg as Adam Strange is reunited with his family following his captivity. Despite all the motion the narrative picks up in this issue, Strange Adventures #8 manages to maintain its poise and its focus. Even as the skies over Earth turn red with the flames of war.

While I feel there is a lot to praise in this book, first and foremost must be some recognition of how King balances the two sides of the story against each other. Using moments in one time frame to counterbalance and contrast what transpires in its opposite time point. King manages to not only tell two stories clearly but makes each better for the presence of the other. While this larger narrative balance delivers great thematic energy to the story, the individual stories work well on their own as the narrative feels to be building to its climax.

This feeling of building to its finale poses my only concern with how this book interacts with the greater narrative of its story. As this is merely issue eight of twelve, I worry that some stall is coming that will prolong the story past its reasonable conclusion. In the past, King has had no trouble delivering this sort of story, so I’m hoping my worries are unfounded.

Of the twin narratives in Strange Adventures #8, I found myself, for the first time, more compelled by the story in the past than in the present. As Adam returns home, he finds readjusting to a family that has been scarred in his absence, a war threatening to fall out from under him, and his own trauma a lot to handle. And even as he grapples with all this, there is work that needs doing. Though Adam may not be the man for the job anymore.

The art throughout this book’s duel narratives continues to deliver each story with impeccable skill. Capturing the war front in the present and the family drama of a soldier who recently returned home are both individually hard topics to land right. Yet the work of Gerads and Shaner give the emotions of each the just service they deserve.

Rounding out the visual presentation is Cowles on letters. Cowles is at some of his best here. The dialogue placement is, as always, spot-on, and the extra design work done on some of the text helps give it the extra emphasis it needs.

Bringing it all together, Strange Adventures #8  delivers a great issue on its own. The plot feels like it is about to tip, as moments in both the past and present feel primed and ready to explode. And with how this issue wraps, a long-standing question in the series looks like it may find its answers next issue. And I don’t know if I’m ready for what it’s gonna be.

Strange Adventures #8 is available on January 26th wherever comics are sold.

Strange Adventures #8
5

TL;DR

Bringing it all together, Strange Adventures #8  delivers a great issue on its own. The plot feels like it is about to tip, as moments in both the past and present feel primed and ready to explode. And with how this issue wraps, a long-standing question in the series looks like it may find its answers next issue. And I don’t know if I’m ready for what it’s gonna be.