Thursday, November 10, 2011

CBR Adam Strange: Man of Two Worlds


I love science fiction.
Space opera, scifi epic, you name it.
I've always been more of a scifi-guy than a fantasy buff. I like seeing stories featuring crazy technology, distant planets, aliens cultures....

Dudes with jet packs.

It's ever kids dream afterall!

Today, let's check out one of DC's best and prime scifi heroes, the one, the only...

Comic title: Adam Strange: The Man of Two Worlds 
Art by Andy & Adam Kubert
Story by Richard Bruning

Published by DC Comics
From 1990
Lineup Adam Strange
Format: Collects the original 90s 3 issues mini-series special, original published in oversized prestige issues format.

Adam Strange!
What a great name.
And an even better concept behind it.

Originally created by Julius Schwartz, who assigned Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky to develop and expand the idea into full fledged adventures.
Adam Strange stories tell the adventures of an archaeologist from Earth (the title character) that is someday mysteriously transported to an alien planet named Rann.
Thankfully, Rann is inhabited by Rannians who appear to be pretty much like Humans.

Rann is mostly composed of deserts, savage lands and then there's the prime city of Ranagar.
Adam quickly found out he was "captured" from light years away due to the Zeta Beams, which were sent by the scientist Sardath as distress signals in reality...
There, Adam meets Alanna. It's love at first sight.
Despite the Zeta Beam wearing off and sending him back to the Solar System, Adam Strange decides to go back on the next Zeta Beam so he can live off these fantastic adventures on the distant planet, and be with Alanna again...

The original Adam Strange stories were mostly inspired by scifi classic "John Carter of Mars" from author Edgar Rice Burroughs.
It was DC's first foray into science fiction and still to this day one the DCU's best representant alongside the wider Green Lantern franchise. (which didn't start as such, space opera, at first).

It started like this...

This revival of Adam Strange had his origin in the pages of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing in '87. (issues #57 and 58)
It was the first time this modern take on Adam Strange made its apparition. There we found out the real reason Strange had been brought to Rann in the first place... There hasn't been any new born child on Rann for the past 20 years. After various experiences with cloning with no success, Sardath actually targeted planets that could bring back a specie that could mate with Rannians! Ranagar was also a much darker and serious place than it was in Silver Age comics... Gone were the innocence and light tone of the stories of old.
People are dehumanized on Rann, thanks to the brilliant science and machines that do everything for theme. People are lazy..some happy in this life without a purpose... But the seeds for a rebellion are

"Man of Two Worlds" builds upon this.

Adam Strange and Alanna are awaiting for a child.
Finally after all those years, the first child will be born in over 20 years.
Meanwhile Sardath has finally overcome the problem of the ol' unpredictable Zeta Beams. One last Beam is wearing off, after that Adam will be able to jump on the next and final trip to Rann and no more random travelling back and forth between both planets!

Okay, so this doesn't actually happen quite so in the sue me!

But things end up going off rails, not quite as planned by the genius leader of Ranagar.
The radiation levels Adam accumulated thanks to the Zeta Beam trips have him hallucinating and harming Sardath at his arrival...
Adam ends up exiled outside the city in the wilderness...
A revolution is reaching its breaking point in Ranagar...
Sardath is nowhere to be seen..
An Earth girl Adam Strange had a little adventure with followed in the next Zeta Beam because of a journal left behind...
And Alanna is going to give birth any time soon!

"Man of two worlds" never before has this nickname of Adam Strange been so adequate.
Man of two worlds is the tale of this guy, Adam, who's been living this dual life for the most part of his life.
A nobody on Earth. Some archaeologist nobody heard off, who wanted to run off his life as his brother ran from his parents during his childhood. Then on day, on this strange different world he became someone else. A hero. No thanks to the super science people on Rann lived with, or because of some freak accident or magical powers he obtained. But because of his wits, his ideas.
Because Adam Strange, to put it simply, was a nerd on Earth. And this is what makes him so special on Rann. Adam is smart. The DCU's own MacGyver, or more precisely, Indiana Jones.
At the end of the day he's the guy with the cool jet pack, that will face incredible odds and rely on himself to come out victorious.

Then again, Adam Strange is seen for the most part of this tale running away...
No more temporary Zeta Beams. No more coming back to Earth.
He has the girl, he is the hero of a whole planet, is expecting a child to be part of his life soon and his friends with the leader of Rann... why would he deserve this?

Richard Bruning tells a grim conclusion of this Silver Age concept.
It is not a retelling. It is not a reboot in your usual sense of the term.
Rather, what Adam Strange has been aspiring for his whole life.
The characters all have strong voices, the tales is captivating. A true homage to classic space opera, Buck Rogers and vintage serials.

The artwork of Andy Kubert, brought to life with the colors of Adam Kubert, is quite reminiscent of pulp classics. Like father Joe Kubert, similar in style, but his own nonetheless.

It's a great epic story, that even didn't need any silly forced crossovers to stand on his own. (like I've seen so many times)
Part-thriller, part-science fiction adventure.

Overall, it's a great recommended read.
Check it out if you like science fiction comics, or just the genre.
If you are interested in the characters too.

It's a great captivating story, with even better gorgeous art.
Though it's definitively one of those "dark, grim and gritty" reimagining from the 80s.
And yes, it strips down this old simplistic comic from its innoncence.
But I want to disagree with those who say it betrays the original Adam Strange, at its core, it still is this reckless good hearted smart hero from Mystery in Space. Just in a different era.

The "repopulate a planet" plan part is... different. Sardath sure is portrayed as a very different man than the good crazy scientist from classic comics.

Some might love it --- others will hate it no doubt!

The story does leave our characters in a very odd and strange place.
Some say it was supposed to be followed by another mini (or graphic novel or even on-going series).


Alanna Strange dies giving birth to her daughter, Aleea. Ranagar left the core planet Rann and went into space.



The tale was continued was continued finally in the pages of JLA #20. Alanna had been captured in the climax of this story by alien invaders. She is finally reunited with Adam. Ranagar was established in another space sector and reformed into a proper planet.

Anyway, the scifi epic genre at its best.

I give it:

  2 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

No comments:

Post a Comment