Every Tom King comic is about something more than what it says on the cover. Heroes in Crisis is about processing trauma, even when you’re a superhero. The Vision was about how difficult it is to build and maintain a family. And whenever he teams up with Mitch Gerads, it’s a pretty safe bet that something special is coming. So Strange Adventures was already looking pretty solid. Especially with Evan “Doc” Shaner joining the art team. But then, when DC announced the release date for the first issue, Tom King said this:
“Adam Strange is one of a long line of characters – like Tarzan and Flash Gordon, stolid men with dimpled chins who thrive in ‘foreign lands’ – who stand in as a metaphor for a 19th century European dream of colonialism. Of course, colonialism was nothing like this dream, and it’s that contrast that interests me: the bloody gap between the myth and the reality”
Adam Strange was first created by Julie Schwartz and Murphy Anderson in 1958. He’s an Earth-based adventurer who zaps back an forth uncontrollably and sometimes unpredictably between Earth and Rann. On Rann, he has a life and a family and a jetpack. On Earth, he has archaeology and a watch that tells him where the next beam to Rann is landing.
So the assumption was, at least ’round the old Den watercooler, that Gerads would be drawing one planet, and Shaner would be drawing the other. But King’s quote throws all that on its head, and the preview pages show it.
“I wanted to tell two stories simultaneously,” said King, “and have them play off each other: the story we tell others and the story others tell about us. To represent these two aspects, we use two of the best artists in comics, then we weave those two tellings together in odd and new ways that I don’t think anyone’s seen in modern superhero comics. So it’s a way to do something new and different and hopefully something cool and compelling.”
This is really fascinating stuff, and in light of our conversation with King, it begs a question: what’s the theme of the new trilogy? If Sheriff of Babylon, Omega Men, and The Vision were the “Trilogy of Good Intentions,” and Batman, Heroes in Crisis, and Mister Miracle were the “Trauma Trilogy,” what does Strange Adventures imply about Batman/Catwoman? Is that going to be about the gap between how Batman sees himself and how Gotham sees him, with Catwoman acting as the mediator? Also, my goodness these preview pages. Look at them.
The first issue of Strange Adventures will be available in comic shops and online on March 4, 2020. For more on Strange Adventures, from Tom King, or for our best comics of the year or decade, stick with Den of Geek!
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