Polygon’s slobbering all over the dreadful Tom King’s new Strange Adventures, is nauseating. Not to mention that the concept of the book itself appears to have been swiped from an independent creator’s years old comics. Starring classic adventurer Adam Strange and his Rannian-born wife Alanna, which looks like yet another supposed look at traumas, the comic is laced with anti-war sentiment, co-crafted again with his previous collaborator, artist Mitch Gerads:
King and Gerads are a well-oiled team. King has a long pedigree of blockbuster superhero character studies, including Marvel’s Vision and DC’s Batman. And the two have partnered up numerous times before, with Gerads lending his inventive colors and realistic visuals to issues of King’s Batman, as well as The Sheriff of Babylon miniseries and — most famously — Mister Miracle.
Most notoriously, but of course, you can’t expect these propagandists to recognize that. See how they gush and gush over King’s past pretensions, despite the political correctness replete in them. And here’s the premise of this Adam Strange vehicle:
After he single handedly lead Rann to victory in an interplanetary war, Adam and his wife Alanna have retired to Earth to bask in fame and peace. But Adam’s past comes back to haunt him, and he calls on another obscure DC superhero to clear his name: Mister Terrific, the third-smartest man in the world. According to DC’s official synopsis, Mister Terrific’s investigation will force him to choose between “saving Adam Strange and saving the world.”
I wonder why a guy who could solve a lot of problems on a different planet – and doubtless also on his own – has to hire somebody else to help him out of the jam King’s stuck him in? This certainly is quite a way to dampen Adam’s effectiveness. Much like how the following slaps Adam and Alanna both in the face:
But so far, the story of Strange Adventures #1 feels like a lot like Mister Miracle — classic but obscure DC superhero navigates fame, trauma, family, and high adventure in an ironically mundane setting — and that could either be really great, or not. The issue frames Adam’s battles on Rann as him participating in war in a foreign place, actions that he believed were helping Rann’s people, and for Earth’s, who would have been threatened if Rann hadn’t won. And now the morality of his actions is being called into question.
Strange Adventures will be far from the first time Tom King has written a hero questions his participation or complicity in a war (or mission-analogous-to-war); this was a major theme of Omega Men, that first put him on the map, Sheriff of Babylon, Grayson, Mister Miracle, and even parts of his run on Batman.
Ah, so it’s basically yet another anti-war metaphor, suggesting what King really thought of the war in Iraq, for example. And, much like the previous examples of King’s work, he exploits other peoples’ creations to serve as a vent for his shoddy visions, with no regrets over whether he’s ruining anything in the process, like Wally West and the Titans. Let’s not forget how, by the end of Heroes in Crisis, whatever point King allegedly set out to make about traumas, collapsed and vanished.
King has said that Strange Adventures isn’t a story about “one man’s angst,” but “the nature of truth and how our assumptions about that nature can tear us apart.” And I hope to see more of how that plays out in coming installments.
I’m guessing he really resented participation in wars in the middle east, and doesn’t think Saddam Hussein could possibly have built WMDs either. Is that the “truth” he’s pushing for? All this from a liberal who apparently can’t handle the truth about anything.
Whatever setting Strange Adventures takes place in, it’s not bound to be great when you have somebody writing it using such repetitive themes that don’t add up to a plausible story, any more than how he’s handled the established characters who comprise the cast of his stories. King is another example of what nepotism within the industry’s led to, and I think this story should be boycotted.
Originally published here.