Max continues on with reading the modern adventures of Adam Strange and digs into Adam Strange Planet Heist written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Pascal Ferry. Find out why Max rates this book so highly among Adam Strange stories, and why you should check it out.
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to email@example.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.
I’m now a month into this project, and while I’ve seen some delays and haven’t been able to work every day, I’m still plenty pleased with my progress. I am really getting into the groove. I’m not watching as much TV and devoting more time to reading comics and writing about them.
Yesterday while my wife had a dentist appointment, I hunkered down in our car, cranked the Madvillain and got to reading Adam Strange Planet Heist which originally ran as the miniseries Adam Strange #1-8 in 2004-2005. It is written by Andy Diggle and illustrated by Pascal Ferry with Dave McCraig as colorist. I got through a big chunk but got caught up babysitting my nephew for a bit and running some errands and didn’t get back to reading until today, when I finished it off.
What can I say? It’s one of my favorite Adam Strange stories and I love it more every time I read it. The art is eye popping and the story is excellent. Adam Strange has a new redesigned costume resplendent with light projection computer displays, protective space armor, and weapons. Under his helmet he has a headpiece covering his neck and sides of his head, but exposing his hair. It looks pretty cool and is a nice touch.
What makes Planet Heist so cool is that it incorporates some of DC’s other space characters, such as the Omega Men, Vril Dox, and the Darkstars and is an Adam Strange adventure like no other. It sends Adam to the deepest reaches of space and shows him using his noggin a bit more than in Adam Strange the Man of Two Worlds—but nowhere near as much as in the Gardner Fox stories. What he doesn’t tackle with brains, he attacks with bravery, faith and determination.
The story opens with Sardath once again having corrected the Zeta Beam so that Adam can now stay on Rann permanently. With Adam’s family of wife Alanna and daughter Aleea intact on Rann, he has no longer any reason to stay on Earth. So Adam goes to Earth to get his affairs in order (again) and wait for the coming Zeta Beam. It never does. He waits and waits. Finally he gets a visit from Superman who investigated in space and doesn’t have good news: where Rann should be there is only a supernova. Rann has been destroyed.
Adam refuses to believe it, and when two alien bounty hunters (who look absolutely gorgeously badass) wielding Zeta Beam transmitters appear, claiming the supernova was a trick to hide Rann’s real location, Adam knows he’s onto something. The truth is crazier than he can imagine and finding the answers will take him across the universe, have him running into murderous Thanagarians eager to blame him for Rann’s destruction and encountering and enlisting the aid of the Omega Men along the way. Adam is helped, then set against a mad Thanagarian priestess Sh’Ri Valkyr who worships Starbreaker, a villain who Dwayne McDuffie later used during his run on Justice League of America and I guess previously had fought the Justice League International. When Adam finally does find Rann, the trouble is just beginning and the fate of the universe is at stake.
Although things have changed a bit for Rann since Adam Strange the Man of Two Worlds, Adam and Alanna’s daughter, being the first child of Rann in twenty cycles remains a part of cannon as do Sardath’s clones. There are also callbacks to the classic material, as Adam’s quick wits help him in a couple situations. There are also reminders that Alanna is both a warrior and a scientist as she is torn between assisting Adam in battle and helping Sardath recalculate beam equations.
The ending is spectacular, though a little bit of a cliffhanger. I don’t want to spoil the specifics, but circumstances at the end of the book set up things for the Rann-Thanagar War an event collected in a trade paperback of the same name. I’m a little tempted to read that next, but it’s more of an story tied into the Infinite Crisis event and would rather read Rann-Thanagar War at a time when I’m getting ready to read that. Still, there is closure enough to not feel cheated, as (at least for the moment) disaster has been averted and Adam is home again. Overall, it’s a great story that sets up future adventures for our hero (and there would be many).
The art contributes a lot to this book. Pascal Ferry’s art and Dave McCraig’s colors combine to give a vivid, almost cartoon (but not quite cartoony, more like serious anime) look to it. Aliens look slick and dangerous. Adam appears streamlined and heroic. Alanna just looks hot. The action maps out incredibly well and looks superb. This is the story that made Adam Strange one of my favorite characters, and Ferry’s art is a big part of the why.
While the Adam Strange Archives are classics, and Adam Strange the Man of Two Worlds is a weighty story worth considering, I recommend Adam Strange Planet Heist above and beyond any other Adam Strange collection, and not just as an Adam Strange story. It’s more than that. Adam Strange Planet Heist makes a good addition to any graphic novel library because it’s just so fun to look at and read. I’ll say it again, the art is really eye popping and catchy. The story is top notch. It’s a great book and if you can find it, you should buy it. Of course, it can be special ordered at Super-Fly, natch! So if you’re really interested, get in touch with Tony and the gang at the shop!
Got plans for tonight, so I’ll wrap this up here. I’ll probably be moving onto Countdown to Adventure next, a trade paperback story coming in just before Countdown to Final Crisis featuring Starfire, Animal Man, and of course, Adam Strange.