This week in Strange Adventures, the battle against the Pykkts continues, domestic life at home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Mister Terrific outperforms Batman. Strange Adventures is one of those series you know will read in a whole new way when collected, but for those who enjoy a mystery-box style drama, it’s hard to not love every minute you’re away from the comic. It has been nearly two months since Strange Adventures #7, but trust me, it’s worth the wait.
In the latest issue, war has come to Earth and the Pykkts have the Justice League on the ropes. This is a war that is costing lives and we know it’s Adam Strange’s fault, more or less, since he’s committed war crimes on the Pykkts people. War is complicated, and politics more so, which makes this issue a hotbed of intrigue and confrontation. As Wonder Woman and Batman fight off the Pykkts, another war is raging between Adam and his wife in the past. The juxtaposition of the two stories heightens the narrative, and at the core of each is a confrontation that grew from trauma seen on the battlefield.
That’s where this issue shines in its deeper meaning. Writer Tom King shows us both Adam Strange’s difficult transition from being tortured for years to going back to normal life and a Pykkts reeling from what Strange did to their people in an interrogation scene. We effectively get both sides, only Strange is a free man trapped in his own head with his wife, and the Pykkts are handcuffed and sitting across Batman and Mister Terrific in a cell. It’s in these complexities readers can tease out a deeper meaning.
The art is once again excellent with Doc Shaner drawing the scenes in the past and Mitch Gerads drawing the scenes taking place in the present. Shaner does a good job capturing the deep sadness and introspection of Adam Strange and also the irrational anger that spikes at a moment’s notice. Gerads gets to draw the most exciting stuff in this issue, like heroes zipping around fighting off Pykkts on Earth, or Mister Terrific infiltrating an alien stronghold. Doc Shaner has been tasked with drawing the more glitzy superhero stuff in this series so far, but here he’s tasked with capturing disturbing aspects from a psychological level. It’s as if the narrative has flipped so that Gerads can draw the fun superhero stuff — albeit it’s still gritty and realistic as hell — and Shaner brings in the deep sadness and pain.
It’s not all dark and brooding, though — the creative team shows off a bit of dry humor when it comes to Batman. It’s also nice to see a touch of humor in a book that’s otherwise dark and upsetting.
Under the guise of superheroes, Gerads, Shaner, and King have been telling a meaningful story about soldiers at war and what that war does to them. What they bring home and how that affects us all is explored in meaningful ways that allow the reader to come to their own conclusions. Strange Adventures remains one of the most meaningful superhero stories on the stands today.
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