Review: Strange Adventures #9
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art & Colors: Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
As the war against the Pykkts rages on Earth, the Justice League releases a bit of the report with mixed reactions.
There’s such an intensity to the drama of discovering what’s in Mr. Terrific’s report that one will clumsily fumble through this comic trying to find out the verdict. Just ruminate for a minute on that. It’s like when the remaining bits of the Warren Commission Report finally get released. On top of that there are other bits and pieces that continue to add depth to the story. Overall, this issue functions as a restatement of the theme of “when good people do terrible things in war.” And, it is found in the quote that gives the issue its title, “The Whole World’s Looking.” Cleverly, it’s really the opposite of that when Ramona Fradon’s quote is read in its complete form. It’s really about what you can come up with when you DON”T think “the whole world’s looking.”
This series has always been about Adam and Alanna, but the past few issues have focused a bit more on Alanna. Strange Adventures #9 puts Adam and his actions center stage again, but it’s obvious that there is just as deep an emotional journey for Alanna. Mr. Terrific believes that Adam has been holding back information from Alanna. Tom King teases the reader again as he shows Mr. T writing a letter to Alanna that begins, “There are a lot of lies going around. I think you’re ready for some truth.” This is what we’ve all been waiting for and the bit of the report that is revealed is very non-specific. What’s really interesting is the way it’s presented.
As we hear newscasters discussing the contents of the report, we actually get to see the specifics of what Adam did in flashback. What’s curious is that it’s not really presented with a particular point of view, despite hearing Alanna’s thoughts in the presents as she responds to the newscasters’ comments. Are these objective depictions of Adam’s actions? The reader really can’t know. What is clear is that King, Gerads and Shaner are building up a whole lot of questions and developing a bunch of so far uncorroborated accounts of what’s happened and only in the final reveal will we learn the truth.
King also presents the reader with a couple of fine moments in the last few pages. As Alanna and Adam grieve over Aleea’s death, Alanna’s pain and anguish is palpable. This is another example of Alanna being the heart of this series. Additionally, there are Adam’s final words in the issue. After Alanna has expressed that she wished she could see Aleea once more Adam responds, “Don’t worry darling. We’ll see her again. There is another world.”
Earlier in the issue we learn that Adam has had a lot experience with the Bible as both a child growing up and as an archaeologist. This quote directs the reader in this direction as well as in the notion of a parallel Earth. Or, perhaps, a dimension. One wonders if Alanna is simply missing. Missing from THIS dimension. Mr. Terrific has already gone on record stating that Aleea is not dead and that Alanna needs to ask Adam what really happened to her. PHEW!
There are no negatives at this point, Strange Adventures #9 is just another phenomenally executed issue. Only the payoff will determine how good these issues really are. From this perspective, there’s just nothing but excellence.
Strange Adventures #9 refocuses the reader on the main themes as the final leg of the series begins in the final three issues. While there are still lots of questions that remain unanswered, King, Gerads and Shaner have developed an intensity and immediacy to the series that is nearly unparalleled. Even if you haven’t read the first eight chapters, this issue is enough to get a new reader on board.