Strange Adventures #4 Review: Mister Terrific Took Over This Issue
Despite the possible intention of the solicitations and maybe the publisher, Mister Terrific took over this issue. For his half of the book, Michael Holt flies to the planet Rann to continue the investigation of Adam Strange — an investigation Strange himself requested and one also requested by Batman.
On the other hand, in what might be a flashback, Adam Strange gets stuck on Earth for more than a week while the weirdness of his Zeta Beam (strange tech that bounces him between Rann and Earth at fairly regular intervals) does its weird bungee jump gag, just when forces he's leading are engaged in a major offensive. This leads to some (for Strange) frustrating conversations with his "friends" (who, really, are your friends, though?) that ultimately don't do much plot wise as the galaxy seems intent on letting a civil war on Rann continue undisturbed. That part, you could take it or leave it.
On the other hand, when Mister Terrific gets to Ba Sing Se, er, Rann, he is met by an official named Joo Dee, er, Karnath, who promises he will have complete access but then completely makes sure his experience is curated.
Mister Terrific does three amazing things in this issue, and it'd be a spoiler to go into any of them in too much detail, but without what looks like a great deal of effort, he quickly establishes himself as the most impressive person in almost every panel where he's seen.
What is apparent is that the "hero" that is Adam Strange has feet of clay, at best, as there is too much suspicious smoke for there not to be some kind of fire in this case. Will that turn out to be a justified secret, hidden for good cause, or … well, what you normally get when a lot of people work hard to stop any scrutiny of their efforts, especially if a smart Black man is digging too hard into the whole deal.
Mitch Gerads, Evan Shaner and Clayton Cowles make a compelling visual tableau with multiple locations: the kind of frontier wildness of wartime Rann, the cold and antiseptic modern day Rann and familiar environments of DC's Earth. Things look gorgeous, no question there. However, Tom King's scattershot plot is not tailor made for this kind of diptych storytelling, managing time shifting a little less smoothly than Lost did.
There are so many engaging elements in Strange Adventures #4 that the shortcomings are frustrating. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Strange Adventures #4 (of 12)
By Tom King, Mitch Gerads, Evan Shaner
Welcome to planet Rann, Mr. Terrific! Earth's champion of fair play has traveled halfway across the galaxy to investigate firsthand the crimes Adam Strange stands accused of. He's not going to find many friendly witnesses, though, as the people of Rann consider Adam Strange their true champion. Yet for all the resistance Mister Terrific faces on the surface of Rann, his true opposition may be lurking closer to his subject than he realizes. This adventure between two worlds continues, with Mitch Gerads drawing the gritty Earth sequences, and Evan 'Doc' Shaner showing us the splendor of Adam Strange's battles in outer space!