Story: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads, Evan Shaner
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
What They Say:
The Pykkts are attacking Earth. As the only warrior in all the cosmos to ever defeat them, Adam Strange leads the planet’s mightiest heroes in all-out war! The only thing is, evidence is mounting that Adam’s victory on Rann may not have been everything he says it was. There is time unaccounted for, circumstances left unexplained. Even Batman has started to wonder about his friend. Sure, they are fighting side by side right now, but who will answer for all the things that got them here? Why, Alanna Strange, of course! It’s time for the Rannian princess to go out and set the record straight. The hit series continues on a bimonthly schedule.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With Tom King naturally drawing from the real world, this installment takes us down the difficult path of information dissemination. The last four years have made a lot of people a lot more aware of how it happens and that what makes it into official reports needs to be tied to all the other reporting as well to provide full context for things. With that as the backdrop, we see how Mitch Gerads and Evan Shaner present the problem of war coming to Earth against the Pykkt while also digging more into what happened on Rann. Yet the reality is that this story is focused on the bonds of family and the strength that comes from the support of one’s family, where it’s feeling a lot more like people are trying to alter Alanna’s point of view when it’s simply not going to change.
The events here are definitely interesting in what’s portrayed. Adam’s time on Rann is something that feels complex and really needed a bit more definition for me, but watching as the plan to deal with the Pykkt unfold, it’s clear just how insidious it is and how against the wall Adam and his allies were in the fight. It’s a fight for survival and something that has them acting like it. Which is what the problem is when it comes to Earth because they’re holding Adam to League rules of conduct and standard human values, which alone shouldn’t be applied to Rannians. But we see here that Alanna is able to make the play clearer to a lot of people through the media that now that Earth is facing the Pykkt and starting to grapple with what they’re like, maybe they understand it a bit better.
That, of course, opens the door for a brief bit between Adam and Superman about how Superman has faced so much but never went that far. But Superman is the last person to be able to play that card because nobody else is like him and it’s an unrealistic ideal to try and hold as reality. You aspire to be like him, but you can never truly be like him. And the League doesn’t exactly do itself any favors in this installment as the report is leaked out, presumably by Batman, and without a lot of the actual details and information that would provide context and confirmation. As Alanna says, it’s a damning report but there’s so much missing from it that it still comes across more as an accusation than a formal charge, especially when the League’s only recourse is to deny Adam membership in it and they end up making the report available in case anyone else wants to try some sort of prosecution. It ends up undercutting the seriousness completely.
Strange Adventures continues to be the kind of project where you can definitely pull in from a lot of different things and have wildly different views because it’s the rare book that’s presenting real and concrete positions, actions, and complex situations to work from. It’s not just a standard superhero comic in the traditional sense, which I thoroughly enjoy, but one that has a lot of layers to it that you can have conflicting opinions about. This installment hit a lot of things that stand out from the last few years in regards to how investigations are done and how information is withheld for a variety of reasons while still making damning claims about people. It’s applied in interesting ways here that definitely makes you feel ambivalent at best about almost everyone while still feeling like there’s a significant secret being withheld until the very end of the run.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 30th, 2021