Review: Strange Adventures Director’s Cut #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads & Evan “Doc” Shaner
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Strange Adventures Director’s Cut #1 revisits issue one of Strange Adventures. It features what is presumably Tom King’s original script and Garads and Shaner’s un-colored and un-lettered art.
Before going inside the issue, the cover is worth looking at because it’s fun and clever. The cover is depicted as the dust jacket to the book that Adam Strange has written (co-written?) in the series itself. The front of the issue features a mashup of the Gerads and Shaner covers from the original issue. The back contains what one might expect from an autobiographical account with a “photo” of Adam and expository text promising what’s inside. Additionally, King is credited as co-writer. There’s some “hand written” markings shown as well, “space liar” and “war criminal!”
Inside, the book alternates between King’s script and the un-lettered and un-colored art. The most interesting aspect of this is what it reveals about the process. This closer look shows that King has designed every page into a 3 panel format. Sometimes he breaks down one of the panels into multiple sections or goes full page. However, in the script he writes it as three rectangular panels that appear to frame the action much like a movie screen. This demonstrates something about how King is conceiving the pages and the desire for a regular form in which to work. Plus, King shows which artist is responsible for each page or panel.
Additionally, King’s script shows that he doesn’t always go into great detail for Gerads and Shaner, often he allows them some freedom for design. There are even a few instances where the script isn’t adhered to exactly. Furthermore, King isn’t afraid to be informal as he describes how the sheets are supposed to cover the “naughty bits” during Adam and Alanna’s sex scene early in the issue. From an artistic perspective, the un-colored art reveals how Gerads finishes with color to add in the details of his pages with aspects such as clouds, smoke and leaves.
While not so much “negatives” this section is more akin to concerns. One of the biggest points of contention with the first issue of this series was Adam and Alanna’s daughter being called “Aleena.” Strange Adventures Director’s Cut #1 is surprises when we see her show up and the script refers to her as Aleea, the name she’s always had. This of course begs some questions, “Did letterer Clayton Cowles get it wrong and it wasn’t caught by the editor?” Or, was the decision made to change it before the lettering was finalized? Or, even more diabolical, has it been altered here for the Director’s Cut, simply to make the audience even more suspicious of this plot point in the story that Mr. Terrific has been focusing on?
Strange Adventures Director’s Cut #1 isn’t a comic for everyone. For readers interested in process and how comics are produced, it is interesting. While it doesn’t reveal anything that necessarily adds to the understanding of Strange Adventures #1, it is compelling to see how the different creators work together and separately. Extra points for the clever cover as well! It makes one wonder if a similar style cover will be used for the trade paperback so it appears to be an actual book and not a comic book collection.