Strange Adventures #1


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Strange Adventures #1


  • Words: Jim Starlin
  • Art: Manuel Garcia/Jim Starlin
  • Inks: Al Milgrom/Rob Hunter
  • Colors: John Kalisz
  • Story Title: Starting Over/A Minor Incident
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Apr 17, 2009

Space is neither a quiet nor a peaceful place, particularly for the odd group of heroes comprised of Comet, Adam Strange, Starman and the Weird.

In an attempt to bridge the past and the future, DC has handed over many of its old, off-beat space heroes to writer Jim Starlin – himself well known for his cosmic dramas – and allowed him to also dust off an old title to do it with. Back in the day, many of the old spaces heroes debuted in the original Strange Adventures title – including Adam Strange, Space Cabby, Captain Comet, and Star Hawkins. Now Starlin picks up the threads left from the Rann-Thanagar Holy War miniseries and the Countdown to Adventure mini-series.

Adam Strange and Starman (Prince Gavyn of Throneworld) struggle to help Rann’s population settle on their new planet of Throneworld while at the same time saying their final goodbyes to Rann. Meanwhile, Comet (formerly Captain Comet) finds himself in a sticky situation on Hardcore Station thanks to some conning by Tigorr of the Omega Men and the Weird is….back? And what part does Bizarro play in what is coming next? One thing seems certain – forces are in action that will pull all these heroes together but will it be for the last time?

Starlin is one of those sci-fi writers who possesses an uncanny knack for creating wild, outlandish, and wonderfully fantastic characters and places and then treating them as if they were the most normal, everyday sort of thing. This dichotomy of the outré and mundane serves to both ground the settings for the audience and at the same time make them seem even more alien. Moreover, Starlin is also a master at mixing scenes of comedy and drama with an even hand so that his stories are never too weighty.

Interestingly, here as with his Mystery in Space mini-series of a couple of years ago, Starlin chooses to have a main story and then a separate back-up story which runs parallel with the main story and will, at some point, most likely intersect with the main tale. It is actually a nice throwback to the past when all comic books had back-up tales and it makes the comic feel denser and worth the $3.99 price tag.

Ultimately, though, the biggest problem to the series is that if you haven’t been following the adventures of these space heroes up to now you are likely to be completely lost. Starlin gives it a yeoman’s effort to recap and bring new readers up to speed but there have just been too much and too many villains involved here for it all to make sense.

The art on the main story is provided by Manuel Garcia and he certainly is a solid penciler. I have to admit, though, just on a personal note, I’m not crazy about his rendition of Comet – particularly the long sideburns on the character. Aside from that, however, he crafts panels that are full but without seeming to be overly busy and does a good job at creating the alien landscapes and creatures required in the story. As good as Garcia is, however, it is nice to see Starlin’s masterful and effortless artwork on the backup story. There is an ease of familiarity with the characters there and a perfect sense of pacing with the panel work that testify to his experience.

Ultimately, Strange Adventures shows Jim Starlin again at the top of his game ably assisted by the artwork of Manuel Garcia but for those who have not been following the adventures of DC’s space-going heroes for the past several years this issue is an exercise in futility. For fans this looks to be one more in a long line of interesting adventures but as a jumping on point for new readers it just does not hold up.

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