Strange Adventures #1 Review

by Carlos R. on March 04, 2020

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mitch Gerads & Evan “Doc” Shaner
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics

Strange Adventures #1 is another in the line of the DC Comics Black Label imprint and marks Tom King’s newest maxi-series. Strange Adventure kicks off in a beautiful fashion that will have you rereading as soon as you arrive to the last panel.

The issue starts off with Adam at a book signing offering his signature to a fan. That may not sound all that interesting, but it was more than enough to hook me. The story pulls the reader in by addressing them, or making it seem like they’re being spoken to. The reader follows Adam through book signing appearances, his current life with Alanna, and flashes of his previous adventures. The signings start off favorably, with fans telling Adam how much they appreciate him and his heroism. He’s seen as a hero and built to be a larger than life figure. The love of the people is cut short when someone who claimed to know what happened to the Pykkts on Rann is found dead from what appears to be a laser blast and Adam is considered a suspect.

King wastes no time with this series and sets up an examination of what we say about ourselves against what others say of us. We’re dropped into Adam’s life and move quickly through the various aspects of it, both past and present. King chooses to have each page split into sections of three panels. This allows the reader to move through the story quickly, minimizing confusion, and allows for King to swap from Earth to Rann settings in an instant. We don’t get to know Adam very well yet, we see him mostly react to others and repeat what others say of him, but I’m sure that was a conscious decision and we’ll see his true nature as we move forward. The most significant instant where we see a glimpse of his personality is toward the end when he faces down his family photo before meeting with the investigator of his case.

Gerads and Shaner are the perfect pair to work with King on this series. Shaner tackles the Rann portions of the story and Gerads the parts that take place on Earth. Gerads line work on the Earth part of the story is raw and faded against Shaner’s that portrays Adam’s history on Rann as fantastical and melodramatic. They do an incredible job to contrast each other, though they use the same tones Shaner and Gerads manage to portray a similar, though different Adam in each section. Rann’s battles are interesting as Adam takes on mostly faceless villains that look like something out of a pulp magazine where the “heroes” are humanlike, and the opposition is made up of hulking machines or alien creatures. The art is flawless in transition and the distinct personalities make it easy to follow what point in time you’re in.

I love this issue; I keep finding myself going back to it to read the Rann portions to see what more I can learn about Pykkts and Gerad’s work to see what I can tell about Alanna and Adam’s relationship by their glances. Strange Adventures offers a layered read and is sure to build to an incredible story.

Our Score:


A Look Inside