Review: Strange Adventures #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Alanna puts her cards on the table and finally gets the truth about Aleea out of Adam. However, it still seems like there’s more than meets the eye….
Strange Adventures #11 may contain Mitch Gerads best work on the series so far. Gerads illustrates the present day events that depict Alanna putting the screws to Adam, not accepting any BS. Gerads work not only builds the tension in King’s script visually, but he wonderfully helps Alanna unleash her full anger on Adam Strange. It’s quite amazing. Every amount of anger and frustration comes through visually. Despite the interplanetary nature of the tale, Gerads manages to keep it intimate and personal between the two and the images he depicts convey those feelings perfectly.
Tom King has been building up to the events of Strange Adventures #11 since the first issue of the series. Amazingly, even though Alanna gets an answer from Adam, there’s been so much back and forth that his answer still doesn’t feel completely genuine. We always want to hold out for the hero to come through in the end, King has made it difficult at times in this series. King has a way of bringing down a hero like no other as witnessed in Heroes in Crisis, so the finale next issue could bring another surprise, or simply validate what seems to be in this issue. No matter the content of the story, the execution has been impeccable all along the way and it doesn’t change with this, the penultimate issue of the series.
The only possible negative for Strange Adventures #11 is what’s been teased since issue #1- Adam Strange is not the hero we’ve thought and he’s had to sacrifice part of his integrity to save his daughter. Has he given over the Earth to the Pykkts as part of the deal? Has he been lying to Alanna all along? It seems that King is trying to give Adam an impossible situation and examine how does a hero face that kind of challenge? It’s a classic “no win” situation. Who would sacrifice one’s own child in that situation? Would sacrificing her even win the day against the Pyktts?
It’s hard not to think of Star Trek‘s Captain Kirk and the Kobyashi Maru. This “no win” situation requires Kirk to essentially cheat to win. It’s hard to imagine King not allowing Adam Strange to find some similar way out. Adam Strange’s entire history as the savior of Rann is predicated on overcoming the “no win” situation. So either Adam does this once again which is in perfect keeping, or he fails in an incredibly ironic twist. If Adam does fail, it will be a truly disheartening finale. One can’t put it past King, though as we’ve already seen in the aforementioned Heroes in Crisis.
The execution is par excellence in both writing and art in Strange Adventures #11. The sole possible negative still awaits the conclusion in the next and final issue. Don’t stop now, but this isn’t the place to jump on either. The conclusion will determine the ultimate assessment of this series. The storytelling has been fantastic and a wonderful entertainment experience, but its legacy remains to be revealed.