Monday, May 18, 2020

Strange Adventures #1 Review

People are Strange

Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads, Evan "Doc" Shaner, Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 4, 2020

Tom King must be waxing poetic about the good old days before Heroes in Crisis, the Bat/Cat wedding lie, and being booted off Batman before his self proclaimed 100 issue run could run its course.  Back when Mister Miracle was winning hearts and awards, the world was his oyster, and it may be back with Strange Adventures.  Tom and his BFF, Mitch Gerads, are joined by Evan "Doc" Shaner to give us their take on Adam Strange that is sure to dark, depressing, and hopefully uplifting as well.  How was this first issue?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Adam on earth at the signing of his new book, Strange Adventures (pretty meta, sis), and two panels in, there are very in your face hints that Adam's daughter, Aleea, is dead.  That sucks!  I was hoping she would finally get some significant play, but not here.  As Nelson Muntz once said about a Tom King book, "Gotta nuke something."

Mitch Gerard and Doc Shaner's art play off well against each other.  Gerad does the darker, more realistic scenes while Shaner kicks ass with the classic, more adventurous space scenes.  We jump between them with a tired Adam pushing his book and then showing flashbacks of him fighting the Pykkts on Raan.  The two come together when a lunatic in line for a signed book goes off on Adam to shatter what up to then, was a very laid back issue. 

By the end of the issue, we have a murder mystery on our hands, and while that has me very worried after the awful Heroes in Crisis, this feels more in line with Tom Kings' comfort zone.  It seems like we will have to put the pieces together from the two different sources (Earth and Raan), and that's a pretty cool setup.

Check out my video review of Strange Adventures #1

We also get some great guest stars, and I hope there are more to come.  One of the issues I had with Mister Miracle was it felt trapped within its own narrative that it didn't feel real if that makes sense.  Having Batman and Mister Terrific show up opens things up, and that has me excited.

I am cautiously optimistic after this first issue of Strange Adventures.  Going in, I thought this was going to be Mister Miracle 2 (Rannian Bugaloo), but getting Doc Shaner to share art duties makes this feel different right away.  Sure, it looks like we will still be getting the same Tom King tropes and subjects, but for now, this feels fresh enough to keep reading, even if you didn't like Mister Miracle.

Bits and Pieces:

Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Doc Shaner kick off their new book, and while I will not proclaim it an instant classic yet like most reviewers probably will, I think it's worth checking out.  Shaner's art is the wildcard here and gives everything a breath of fresh air even as things go to hell around our hero.  Tom King does not have an excellent track record when it comes to murder mysteries, but this was a good start.


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