Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Strange Adventures #11 Review


You Don't Have To Be A Sadist To Read This Series, But It Helps

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mitch Gerards, Evan Shaner
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Art By: Mitch Gerards, Evan Shaner
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 27, 2021

Alanna confronts Adam Strange over the revelations in Mister Terrific's letter and learns it's all true. Meanwhile, readers flash back to the bittersweet and hollow victory of Rann's liberation from the Pykkt invasion.

Was It Good?

Ahh, here we are again. Every issue in this series presents the same difficulty in articulating where or not this is a good issue.

Let's cover the art first. There's not much in terms of action, so it comes down to the character moments between Adam and Alanna, both past and present. Gerards handles the present-day scenes while Shaner handles everything in the flashback. 

Of the two, Shaner's art is more appealing and fits the fantastical elements of the story to a tee. Gerards's style, on the other hand, is sometimes offputting for the ultra-referenced (read: photo tracing) approach to the materials. The offputting style is compounded with the unmistakable similarity in appearance of Alanna Strange to the actress Olivia Munn. If the likeness similarity is a coincidence it's an uncanny one and an unending distraction once you see it.

To be fair, Gerards's art isn't bad art, but the stark contrast between Shaner and Gerards is incredibly jarring.

Now for the story and writing...

Look, King is a skilled writer. It would be foolish to state otherwise, but this is a painful book to get through because King's talent achieves something that few writers know how to do. King makes you feel something.

In another comic, that would be a huge win. But here, it feels like a loss because the only thing King is determined to make his characters and the reader feel is suffering. This issue, and all the previous issues leading up to it, pushes you to experience the pain and loss of the Strange's daughter, the guilt and shame of all the performative murdering Adam was forced into for the sake of Rann, and the near grotesque voyeurism readers are forced to endure watching Alanna and Adam's marriage fall apart in real-time.

King doesn't show painful moments. He presents emotional despair and misery and rubs your nose in it like a disobedient dog being punished for refusing to be house trained. Even the scenes between 
Alanna and Adam in the flashbacks become all the sadder because you know the heartbreak is coming. Now that the big secret is out, there's nothing left but to wallow in the consequences.

King wants you to wallow in the pain. Choke on the misery. Reading this comic isn't something you do for enjoyment, it's something you endure.

So the question you have to ask yourself is this -- Are you strong enough to endure this comic on the very thin hope there will be some redemption for Adam Strange at the end?

I'll endure it (because that's part of the job). Whether or not you will, is up to you.

Bits and Pieces

Strange Adventures #11 is a masterful exercise in inflicting misery on both the characters of the story and the readers brave enough to buy this book. If watching a couple argue as their marriage falls apart sounds like a good time, this one is right up your alley. The score reflects the technical quality of the art and writing. Enjoyment has no place here.



  1. Well Marriage Story is a great movie and is about a divorce. It’s not something to watch again and again, but it is worth watching just like Strange Adventures is worth reading. This was also a great issue and it’s not in continuity. The only comic Tom King is writing right now that is in continuity is Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. The idea this comic is something you endure is absolutely ridiculous. You are discussing this comic like it’s the truly awful The Divided States of Hysteria. Let’s lay off the hyperbole. It’s not hard.

  2. You may like it, but I think it is truly awful. And the reason it isn't in continuity (which it originally was going to be when first announced) is because Tom King ruins almost every character he touches! Plus, the hyperbole comment may have been your idea of a clever jab, but you are just being a dick! Maybe get back to that Vikings blog.