[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Planet Rann: Now. Hawkman is really, really bloody. His Nth metal blood is not healing him like it once was. Adam Strange is trying to save a pal from dying but that pal seems pretty set in his ways. Planet Thanagar: Then. Katar Hol is an alcoholic police officer who seems to be trying to get fired. Planet Rann: Then. Adam’s wife, Alanna, is convinced that the Thanagarians have attacked and killed her father. She is ready for war. It is, presumably, the war that we see on Rann now. Adam seems to know that something is amiss and he goes about proving it. What a hot mess. Good luck with that, Adam.
The whole Hamlet and Horatio thing is still going on. Katar is “going crazy” and everyone thinks he is trying to destroy himself. Adam is the only person who is a true friend and seems to care if he lives or dies. It is a trope for sure, but it is one we all know and love. In an otherworldly war, it is good to have something we can all grasp. We have all been the good friend or the bad friend. We have watched someone we love do self-destructive things and done nothing or we have stepped in and tried to help. Realism is hard to come by when Adam says things like, “My blaster has just enough juice left.” Yet, there is realism in spades. Adam loves his wife, but he has to make a decision about what version of the “truth” he wants to tell her because her version of the “truth” is totally different.
Lopresti’s bloody images are spot on once again. Page one. Cracks in Adam’s helmet. Cracks in a blown up wall. Blood on Adam’s fingers. Damn. So real. So good. A far away shot of Katar looking grim. We can feel his determination. We know that he knows that this is the end, but he is willing to fight on. A close up of him, covered in his own blood mid-flight with a cut away to a flashback in the same pose, sans blood. So good. Again, the realism is great here. There are other planets and teleportation and Hawkmen and yet, we see anguish and grit and loss. The realism makes this work because we have felt those things too.
Who is that giant fin headed guy? He was on the cover of the first book and now he is pretending to be Adam and maybe Katar? What is up with that? Why doesn’t DC make Who’s Who anymore? It is a deep dive and the villain (Despero) matters. Maybe we would know who he is, then. How about Darkseid? We all know him.
The pacing is a bit off on this. There are only six issues so we are going in knowing that we have to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time while still building a story. Maybe because the first issue was all about Adam and now we are throwing in Katar’s story while still keeping up with the Stranges, this trips a little. It does not fall, but it trips.
Honestly, I think this is going to be a winner. There are some long-neglected characters coming back into the forefront. How does all of this tie into Rebirth? That is yet to be determined, but I suspect, when we hit issue six, all will be revealed.