Strange Adventures #2 made it clear this is a slow boil story that gets into the nitty-gritty of domestic life. Spending a large portion of issue #2 focusing on Mister Terrific’s routine helped humanize and normalize an otherwise extraordinary superhero. That continues in issue #3, which begins to shed light on what the fuss is about surrounding lead protagonist Adam Strange.
The novelist theme continues on the first page of this issue as revealed by the credits which utilize the ellipsis to separate name from the title. This is a good reminder Adam Strange wrote a book about his life, but how much of it can we truly believe? Mister Terrific aims to find out as he investigates Adam Strange and the stress of that act is what drives the narrative of this issue. There’s an underlying sense of dread for Strange and his wife and that dread eats away at you, making you want to learn more since it’s such a big secret.
I have to hand it to Tom King as the plotting and pacing are never confusing even though they zip around in time and location. The pace of the issue feels fast yet there are quieter, slower moments throughout. The story is amped up with a flashback to when Adam Strange was off Earth fighting an alien in a gladiatorial ring. Cutting between this and Adam’s stress over Mister Terrific’s investigation — which he deems unfair — we begin to learn how clever and some might say conniving the protagonist and his wife can be.
I can’t stop looking at the art in this book. Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner consistently make me ponder why every comic isn’t drawn by two artists. Gerads is incredible at setting mood and atmosphere, hammering home a level of realism that’s hard to resist while Shaner adds the superhero pizazz that embodies the fun and adventure of Adam Strange. Together their styles meld this book into fact vs. fiction in a visual sense that raises up the very idea fo the book to new heights.
I didn’t see it when the story started, but this is a political comic for political times. The book ends on a note that has got me interested more than ever thanks to a political angle Strange takes that should add a heavy dose of realism to a superhero story. It’s that kind of thing that will likely make this story stand the test of time. Strange Adventures is a page-turner with crisp pacing and stunning visuals with a narrative complexity and momentum that is unparalleled today.
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