Saturday, May 1, 1999

The Salvation of Adam Strange

Three writers helped to restore Adam Strange to his former glory.

The first was Ron Marz, who in Green Lantern 75 of the current run, had the Darkstars and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner trying to save Ranagar from the attacks of Darkseid's illegitimate son, Grayven. What had protected Ranagar from the attacks of the other city-states, its elevated position, ironically made it the first target of Grayven's attacks. During the battle, the machines keeping the city elevated were destroyed. Green Lantern was able to hold the whole city in a giant snowglobe and safely lower it to the planet's surface. This took care of the whole floating city problem.

The second was Mark Waid, who deserves the lion's share of the credit for helping to restore Adam Strange's reputation. During a two-part story in JLA (No 20-21), Rann was invaded by the En'Tarans, a telepathic race of conquerors, who hoped to gain Rann's Zeta Beam technology. It turned out that Alanna's death had been greatly exaggerated, the doctor making the declaration of death being an Earth doctor with no experience with the Rannian physiology. She was merely in a coma-like state, but even Sardath could not revive her. Sardath had taken Alanna to the En'Tarans, hoping their advanced medical technology could save Alanna. It did, and through Sardath they learned of the advanced Zeta teleporter. Using Alanna, the En'Tarans tricked Adam Strange into teleporting an invasion group onto Rann. However, the resourceful Strange tricked them into thinking he'd deliver them the entire world in addition to the technology. Using the Rannian population and the JLA as slave labor, Adam set to work rebuilding Rann in its former glory, under the guise of readying it for his dear wife's return. In reality, Adam was secretly moving monuments and statues into the right positions, turning the whole of Rann into a planet-sized Mega-Zeta Beam large enough to teleport the En'Taran invasion force far away. Superman was able to get Alanna and Sardath off the invasion force's ships and return them safely to Rann. However, there was one drawback to the plan. In order to get the ray to work in the time left, Adam had to use his body as the focal point for the Zeta beam. Doing so, Adam Strange lost the Mega-Zeta radiation in his body (which was what kept him on Rann) and was soon teleported back to Earth, away from his reunited family. He barely had time to introduce his wife to the daughter she'd never seen. The issue ended, in one of the best scenes in comicdom in the last year, with Adam wistfully looking up at stars and J'onn J'onzz (who also knows the heartbreak of being separated from one's family) clasping his shoulder. It is thanks to Waid that we now have Adam back to his roots; a thinking-man who outsmarts the bad guys and does it all in the name of love.

The third writer who has helped restore the glory of Adam Strange, while not having made many world shattering changes, has given us a vision of what future Adam Strange stories might look like. This man, James Robinson, has already done a lot to restore forgotten DC Heroes, having started the excellent Starman series and having penned "The Golden Age", probably the best JSA story ever written. Recently (in Starman #52-53), Adam played a guest role in the current storyline, when Jack Knight paid a visit to Rann.

We got a chance to see Adam in his new role as a hero, father and husband simultaneously. We also got a surprisingly touching moment when, while on a mission to save Adam's daughter, Adam starts to fade away and he asks Jack to promise to save his daughter. Jack in turn asks Adam to go to Opal City and let his family know he is safe. This two-parter showed a lot of potential for what might be done with Adam Strange now. Hopefully DC will see that and find a new writer and artist who can bring a new life to the Thinking Man's Hero.

No comments:

Post a Comment