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READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 16: The Rann-Thanagar War

Max follows the adventures of Adam Strange into the Rann-Thanagar War, where he teams up with Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Hawkwoman, and a bunch of non-hawk characters too like Captain Comet and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner! Read on to find out what’s so cool about this story.

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 superflycomics@gmail.com. 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 maxdlake@gmail.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.

 

Written 2/2/12

Didn’t get much reading done yet today, but I may still yet.  However, I must have had my head buried in the sand yesterday as I did not read about DC’s announcement of their BEFORE WATCHMEN project until today.

I wrote something up about it…but I think I’m going to try to post that as a column tomorrow.

Pretty crazy news indeed!

Of course, with the delayed nature of this blog, this will be already way old news by the time this sees print, but I’d still like to take some time to comment on it.  But here is not the place to do it.

NOTES FROM NOW (8/12/12): I did in fact post a column on the Super-Fly Comics & Games’ website about Before Watchmen that can be accessed here! Again, old news now, but just in case you’re curious! Anyway, let’s continue to look back to February…

Written 2/3/12

Went out for coffee and ordered my usual double espresso—except it was 10 pm last night when I did(!), but I was planning to stay up tonight and into the morning to do some reading and writing.

I went ahead and plunged into Rann-Thanagar War instead of proceeding with Countdown to Adventure as planned.  It’s one of those impulsive decisions I’m glad I made.  I’ve read it before but it was really nice to revisit.  Ultimately Rann-Thanagar War works as a lead in to Infinite Crisis, but it is the perfect (and direct) follow up to Adam Strange Planet Heist.  So what if it I planned to read Rann-Thanagar War later?  Countdown to Adventure happens much, much later in Adam’s career and just happened to be next on the shelf to Planet Heist.  I may still re-read Rann-Thanagar War when I hit the Infinite Crisis stuff to take that in as a whole, but that’s just me being anal about how I’m reading my collection….

The Rann-Thanagar War

The cover to Rann-Thanagar War—and what a war it is!!!

At any rate, despite its ties to Infinite Crisis, Rann-Thanagar War works as a stand-alone cosmic war story and features DC’s premiere space heroes including Adam Strange, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Green Lanterns Kyle Rayner and Kilowog, Captain Comet, Starman of Throneworld and Tigorr of the Omega Men.  Dave Gibbons, artist of Watchmen wrote it and then up and comer Ivan Reis (Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and the New 52 Aquaman series) drew it!  It’s hot stuff!  It’s fantastic sci-fi on a grandiose scale with a really interesting plot and really nice art that depicts this galaxy-spanning story well.

The story picks up a little bit after where Planet Heist left off, with Adam Strange coming to Earth seeking Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s help in soothing tensions on Rann, where most of Thanagar has relocated following the fallout of the mad Thanagarian priestess Sh’Ri Valkyr’s actions.  When the trio return to Rann, war has already broken out, but it turns out there may be a true underlying threat in this war that threaten Rannians and Thanagarians alike.  Another, but different death cult is pulling the strings, worshipping the devils of seven hells; in particular Onimar Synn, a Thanagarian death god, who the cultists plan to raise from the dead.

Cover to Rann-Thanagar #1

Worlds collide in the Rann-Thanagar War!

First off, it’s really cool to have Adam Strange and Hawks team up in the modern age.  That really needed to happen and I see why now.  Of course, the next thing I know Green Lanterns Kyle Rayner and Kilowog pop up, and although they can’t participate in the war, they end up playing a vital role nonetheless with Kyle crossing paths with L.E.G.I.O.N.’s Vril Dox and Captain Comet.  Meanwhile Tigorr and Prince Gavyn AKA Starman defend Throneworld from Thanagarian forces protecting a zeta beam Starman has.  Starfire’s sister K’omandar AKA Blackfire leads a division of Tamaranean troops who are playing both sides, and who have captured Hawkwoman. Needless to say there’s a lot going on.  However, with all the different characters and their respective roles, the story comes together as a cohesive whole.  Gibbons delivers a great script full of intrigue, betrayal, ties to family and friends and dynamic action—all of it rendered fantastically by Ivan Reis.

Onimar Synn can raise the dead and the story gets thick with a lot of Thanagarian zombies.  It gets crazy in one scene showing the heroes hacking ’em up, and this was a couple years at least before Reis did Blackest Night but very similar. Reis does amazing work overall, with fleets of starships, massive war scenes, flying troop battles and excellent rendering of some classic DC characters.

One other noteworthy part is when Adam Strange and Captain Comet meet.

Captain Comet meets Adam Strange

Adam Blake (Captain Comet) meets Adam Strange

Noteworthy as they share a name, and a creator.  There’s an anecdote in the introduction of the first volume of Adam Strange Archives about Julius Schwartz when he came up with Adam Strange.  Schwartz had previously come up with Captain Comet, whose name was Adam Blake.  However, Schwartz believed that enough time had passed between the two characters’ creation that they would not notice another “Adam.”  So when the two meet, it’s a kinda neat little exchange that is strangely not awkward or confusing.

Prince Gavyn of Throneworld AKA Starman

Here's Starman AKA Prince Gavyn of Throneworld

Prince Gavin of Super-Fly

And here's Prince Gavin of Super-Fly Comics & Games!

The bad news is this that while this would all be great on its own, it cuts off with a big disaster and a dialog box essentially saying “Perhaps there is a bigger crisis at play here” or somesuch, so be prepared for that, but don’t necessarily feel compelled to get all the Infinite Crisis stuff.  This book works just fine as it is.

The good news is that if you really want to follow this book up it all this leads to other great stories featuring these characters, including 52, Mystery in Space, Strange Adventures, Countdown to Adventure and The Rann-Thanagar Holy War.  After that Captain Comet, Starfire and Adam Strange popped up as part of Vril Dox’s R.E.B.E.L.S. in the recent series of the same name.  And of course there is a Hawkman and a handful of Green Lantern books ongoing currently.  No Adam Strange in the DCnU yet, but I’ll ruminate on that later…

The Heroes of Rann-Thanagar War

Some of the heroes seen in Rann-Thanagar War

So if you like Adam Strange, it’s him and an ensemble cast, but Adam plays a big role and everyone else is just gravy.  With its annoying ending being its ties to Infinite Crisis and a plot that wasn’t resolved for a lonnnng time, it’s has a couple strikes against rushing out and buying it.  However, its creators are top notch, and Ivan Reis has been at the forefront of DC’s premiere projects for years now.  This is a nice work by him featuring some great characters, a few of them working together for the first time.  I enjoyed it as a standalone read, and probably would have even if hadn’t just read Adam Strange Planet Heist, though having read Heist heightened my enjoyment reading R-TW a bit.

The cover of Rann-Thanagar War #6

Not all the heroes make it out alive in Rann-Thanagar War

I liked it a bunch.  It’s taken me a couple days to review, but I’ve been enjoying the weekend with friends.  Is it just me or was the Super Bowl boring this year?  Then again, I think all football’s pretty boring so I shouldn’t talk, but it was a close game at least.  Anywho.

Past entries of the Read My Library Blog

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