Review: Strange Adventures #8
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads & Evan “Doc” Shaner
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
The Pykkts are invading Earth and Phoenix is annihilated, but what does it all mean? More of Adam’s war against the Pykkts on Rann is also revealed.
Strange Adventures #8 gets us right into the invasion of Earth by the Pykkts, but it seems to be a surgical strike as they are focused on Phoenix, Arizona. They’ve devastated the city with nearly 40, 000 deaths, but Batman and Mr. Terrific find a survivor in the invasion force to question. It’s nice to see Bruce and Michael on the same page and working together to figure out exactly what’s going on. The Pykkts tell the same story about Adam Strange’s atrocities against the Pykkts. Mr. Terrific plays it very close to the vest as it is unclear exactly what he’s uncovered, except as shown in past issues that it has something to do with Adam and Alanna’s daughter, Aleea.
In this issue we finally get to see some of Adam’s time with Aleea after escaping his captivity. He’s very distant at first towards her until Alanna reads him the riot act. It’s all played so subtly, it’s not easy to determine exactly what’s going on except that it is definitely suspicious and unsettling. It’s obvious Adam has experienced something horrific or something..??? There’s still that notion I’ve floated that Adam has been replaced by someone or something in a disguise. The panel where he returns and announces himself plays to that idea quite well. One wouldn’t return home to his wife and announce himself by his full name, “I’m Adam Strange.” It’s that same tentative quality we see in the film, The Return of Martin Guerre. Not coincidentally, it’s a similar plot point as well. The whole film questions whether or not this is really Martin Guerre returning or an imposter. Even the Pykkt clothing Adam is wearing is reminiscent of the character’s appearance in the film, specifically the red hood they both wear.
One of the things that stands out about Mr. Terrific’s portrayal is his constant multitasking. As he wades into battle he’s answering literature questions from his T-Spheres. It goes a long way in demonstrating how needy his mind is to be constantly working and active just so he can focus on what’s in front of him- very clever.
The art continues to be outstanding. Period. While Gerads covers the present, Shaner’s past is not so “rosy” anymore. The cup in the scene when Adam gets both barrels from Alanna is particularly intriguing. It looks like it could be one of those plastic cups from the ’70’s and this one has a Carmine Infantino image of Adam Strange on it. That cup with Silver Age Adam tipped over on the table, obviously spilling any contents is a brilliant image. It says so much about the simplicity of the Silver Age being turned on its side.
I don’t think there’s really a negative in this issue. The story is at that point where you’re either all in or it’s not your thing. I’m all in. Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ll LIKE the ending, but at this point it’s so well crafted and subtle in just the right ways it’s an immensely intriguing mystery!
King, Gerads and Shaner reveal a bit more about what happened on Rann and it’s incredibly enticing! Batman and Mr. Terrific display a great working relationship as they try to discover the reason for the Pykkts invasion and destruction of Phoenix. So far, all the pieces don’t add up, but the journey is executed wonderfully!