Review: Strange Adventures #2
It’s been some time since the debut of Strange Adventures. The maxi-series was an intriguing start exploring the mythology of war and war heroes. Strange Adventures #2 is a shift in some ways. Writer Tom King focuses on the comic on Michael Holt, aka Mr. Terrific, as he has to decide if he’s going to take up the case. At stake is the truth about Adam Strange’s war stories and the possibility he committed murder.
King delivers a fascinating issue that sets of Holt’s bonafides as an investigator. We get a comparison in a way with Batman and King intelligently gives us reasons as to why Holt is a better choice to do this than Batman. But, what King does that’s really impressive is tie together real-world socio-political issues that are in the reader’s head. Holt is a Black man who’d be investigating a White war hero.
How would that look? How will the public react?
King through various scenes and outright pondering teases that this isn’t a simple investigation for Holt. There’s some real danger to him, his reputation, and possibly his safety by taking this on. King also delivers some emotional reasons for Holt taking on the case that are revealed as the issue wraps up. It adds more of an emotional connection to the case and in doing so adds depth to the character.
But, the issue isn’t totally focused on Michael Holt deciding if he wants to take the case. We’re also taken to the world of Rann-and as Strange attempts to find allies in his battle. This part of the story is a bit weaker without a feel of danger but it’s a necessity. There’s very much a Flash Gordon meets Planet of the Apes vibe to it all. It fills in some gaps to Strange’s story and it’s a piece of the bigger puzzle as to what really happened.
Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner trade off duties as one focuses on the present day and the other the past and war. The two styles work really well together tied nicely with a color palette focused on blues and reds and oranges. There’s an interesting dance between the two segments as the issue has an almost dreamlike sequence about it in ways. The bouncing between the two with the changing of colors is something that can be explored on its own, and what was used where is a very deliberate choice. A red eye being the focus on a blue panel for instance is symbolism that can be read in to and debated for some time.
The issue is interesting in that it feels a bit like a distraction from the story set forth in the first issue. But, it’s a really intelligent issue as it sets up the qualifications of the person who will be “trying” Strange. It lays out the case as to why this is the right person with the issue acting like a resume and defending the choice for the story. It also sets up that this is even less of a clear investigation and there are political landmines throughout. The issue would have done better if there wasn’t so much of a gap and on its own it’s not too exciting. But, it still feels like a key set up as to what’s to come so as a piece of the greater story, Strange Adventures #2 is a very interesting issue.
Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads, Evan “Doc” Shaner Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review