After a nearly three month hiatus, Strange Adventures has returned to comic store shelves across the country. With such a long wait between the two issues, chances were the story would falter or not be worth the wait. Luckily for us, the dream team of King, Gerads, and Shaner don’t disappoint. Strange Adventures #2 is another amazing installment in the series. King doubles down on narrative focus, switching the perspectives between Strange in the past in space and Mister Terrific in the present on earth.
King and Gerads characterize Mister Terrific on earth excellently. With Batman recruiting Terrific to investigate Adam Strange and the murder of a disgruntled civilian, an in depth look at Mister Terrific is necessary. The duality of the book works to great success in this regard. The book characterizes Terrific as a focused and intense genius. Consistently pushing himself to his limit intellectually and physically, his introduction is amazing. On the other side of the story, we get more glimpses of Strange’s time on Rann. With Shaner covering the art on this end, it’s absolutely eye-popping.
While reading Terrific’s story play out with Batman using Gerad’s gritty art, Shaners fantastical space art is a beautiful contrast. Moreover, seeing Adam Strange in all his pulp science fiction glory is a nice change of pace every few pages. Shaner makes all of his art pop with beautiful and vibrant colors.
The story also takes a darker turn on present day earth. As Mister Terrific struggles to grasp with why Batman chose him to take lead on the case, he also struggles with his own inner demons. Dealing with family trauma of his own, Terrific realizes he needs to confront his own issues while dealing with Adam Strange too. All this is fully realized in beautiful writing and art. Along with this arc is a sense of a lived in world. Gerads provides everyday looking people and how they’re enamored with Strange.
Additionally, on Shaner’s side of things, we have fantastical aliens, disgusted by the very same man. The duality of everything happening in these two worlds is everywhere in the book. However, the abundance of this theme of duality works in the books favor. It plays to great success thematically and visually. Less is more with Tom King, and as he takes time to build up these characters – in this instance Mister Terrific- he also uses it to propel the story forward.
Adam’s time on the desert of Rann also helps hint at where the story could be going as well. The pulpy action from the first issue returns, but with a somewhat darker twist. As we begin to see Adam take more extreme measures, leaving a hint at the more intense things to come in the series. All in all, this story succeeds not only in setup, but progression of the overall story as well.
By the end of this issue, Mister Terrific finds his resolve to work the case of Adam Strange and what really happened on Rann. While doing so, he makes a break in the case that, if true, has great emotional consequence for future issues. Possible even a reckoning for Adam Strange. Tom King, Mitch Gerads and Doc Shaner all came together to make a compelling and emotionally satisfying second issue for Strange Adventures. It is an issue filled with equally beautiful writing and art. I cannot wait to see where they take the story next. This issue was one that was absolutely worth the wait. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 10/10