If the goal of Strange Adventures #2 is to get me to want more Mister Terrific comics, congratulations to Mitch Gerads, Doc Shaner and Tom King, you did it.
We’ve known for a little while now that the second main character in the book would be Michael Holt, one of the three smartest people in the DC Universe and one of the most underutilized and underappreciated characters in the DC pantheon. This second issue gives us our first real look at who he is, and he lives up to his name perfectly.
I genuinely adore how the creators chose to show how brilliant Mister Terrific is. They have him multitasking through the whole issue – his T Spheres ask him trivia questions that start at rote fact repetition, and end up with him giving value judgements on the contents of the questions. He’s even rattling off answers to these questions while he’s reading Adam Strange’s book. As someone who routinely tries to three-screen conversations with people, this comic speaks to me.
This is a good insight into the trick Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ collaborations usually pull. One of the things they do so well (and something King often does in books with other artistic collaborators) is a sort of formalist sleight of hand. The how of the storytelling is as much a part of the mystery as the plot. In Strange Adventures, it’s so easy to get lost in why the story rotates from Earth to Rann where it does, or why the dialogue on Rann feels so stilted, or to watch the parts of the story where Shaner and Gerads’ art seems to converge. In Mister Miracle, there were a couple of revelations later on in the story that completely recontextualized not just what came before, but how it came (and one conspicuous lack of revelation that left a how a mystery, part of that series’ brilliance).
When you’re in the moment of the story, focusing so much on that can help underplay plot points that become important as part of that recontextualization, and it feels like the creative team knows that. These are the kinds of comics that I really love – the ones that value rereading and close reads, ones that understand the form and are in complete control of every aspect of the storytelling. King, Shaner, Gerads and Clayton Cowles are pros at the top of their game, and Strange Adventures #2 is another hit.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“What is the truth about Adam Strange? When an activist who publicly accused him of war crimes ends up dead, the public begins to doubt Strange’s stories about his adventures on the planet Rann—and he’s even starting to doubt himself. It’s going to take a special investigator to get the truth, and he’s going to have to tear apart Adam Strange’s life and reputation to do it. A special miniseries set on two worlds, it takes two artists to bring Strange Adventures to life. Mitch Gerads tackles the earthbound sequences, while Doc Shaner launches us into space. And it’s all written by Tom King, the Eisner Award-winning writer who brought you Mister Miracle, Omega Men, and Sheriff of Babylon.”
And here are your preview images. Take a look, and for more on Strange Adventures, stick with Den of Geek!