Friday, April 27, 2012

CBR Strange Adventures


Once more, Adam Strange is confronted with some more Strange Adventures, this time again under Jim Starlin's pen.

Last time, it seemed the Rann–Thanagar War was once and for all over...or was it really?

Don't miss out my previous Adam Strange-related reviews!

Comic title: Strange Adventures
Art by Jim Starlin, Manuel Garcia, Rafael Albuquerque, Michael Schoyket & Scott McDaniel
Story by Jim Starlin

Published by DC Comics
From 2009
Lineup Adam Strange, Rann/Thanagar; Captain Comet
Format: Trade paperback collecting the entire 8-issue limited series.

The "mysteries in space" continue!
Adam Strange confronted to an epic adventure of cosmic proportions...again!

This story is actually a direction continuation of Strange's latest space adventures, for this it follows the threads left open in Rann/Thanagar Holy War with mostly the same cast of characters.

Our hero Adam Strange hasn't been having it easy as of late.
The Earth-born archeologist who had been transported to Ranagar by accident originally saw his wife die once, his adopted planet Rann get stolen, the nearby planet Thanagar crushed into the sun only to have all that population invade his world, a relocation to the planet Throneworld after the destruction of their homeworld, an intergalactic war erupt among the system and finally a dangerous cult trying to destroy all life in the universe.

Finally with some time to catch a breath, Strange has been patrolling the now vacant space with his wife Aleanna and his own squad of rocketpack-equipped trained Rannians.
That is when Adam noticed some stars were missing in the sky. Has some planets been disappearing lately?
But only Strange seems to have notice so, his father-in-law Sardath doesn't seem to believe these disillusions..

Strange Adventures follows the so-called Aberrant Six Jim Starlin was hinting in the previous "Holy War".
The villain Synnar (a Thanos-like figure, the same type of villain Starlin depicted that Marvel space villain while he was working over there in the 90s) has not been destroyed, but rather displaced, his powers given to the unstable The Weird by accident.

Actually the main characters here seem to specially by Adam Strange, continuing his various plots from his recent series (the role of a leader he should pursue over the adventurous past he had), The Weird Jim Starlin actually created in 1988 and finally brought back to the front scene in these new stories, and finally Comet aka the all-new revamped Captain Comet from another Jim Starling recent series.

The story also focuses on others, like Eye another DC space villain/anti-hero who's personally connected to Comet.
The current Starman, the prince from the now depopulated Throneworld planet, which he offered to the Rannians and was renamed "New Rann".
And finally Bizarro, the failed Superman clone, who sorts of land on this adventure quite randomly.

The Bizarro side stories were originally presented as back-up features, but work quite well here as little segments cutting the bigger story, each new chapter. They usually feature guest artists, such as Rafael Albuquerque or Scott McDaniel. with a more cartoony "blocky" artstyle which works great for Bizarro.

Adam Strange teams up with these space heroes once more to investigate the new danger arisen and to try to stop the disappearing of these galaxies.
But by bringing the Weird back to normal, won't they be giving the power back to Synnar, only to risk having to stop him another day??

It's a much better and more focused story than Starlin's last.
While there he had trouble jumping from a character to another, here it's a bit more streamlined and straight forward. Also the cast's much simpler to handle here.
Jim Starlin also takes on art duty at some points, with his gorgeous and realistic art, fitting for this kind of story.

Overall, it's much better than the past Rann/Thanagar: Holy War story line.
Less characters, less messy plot. Some threads are kinda forgotten in the middle (the new villainess Lady Styx finally gets some background and an origin story...but is as quickly forgotten over Synnar).
It's still an epic story, only not as huge in scope so in the end it's much more interesting to follow.

Simply put - better handled.

The story does take some strange turns to work out some new decisions Starlin had to take though.
Remember Hawkman special I discussed in my past review?
I think Starlin originally wanted to retcon Hawkman to be closer to the scifi character he was in the 70s. His aberrant six probably were characters from "a parallel universe", or errors in the continuity. No doubt the likes of Power Girl, Huntress, Superboy Prime and Hawkman were supposed to be the original ones.
But since Hawkman complicated Geoff Johns' written origin was kept during Blackest Night (all through the current revamped version in "The New 52"), that original plot had to be thrown away in favor for a new one.
Thus a silly moment were a misplaced candle made Bizarro the new Aberrant one over Hawkman.
Also this makes that awful special I complained about even more useless. Nothing was accomplished, it wasn't significant and was just a waste of paper.

If you like the space heroes of the DC Universe, you'll enjoy this no doubt!

I give it:

2 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

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