Max wraps up The Adam Strange Archives Vol. 1 and examines the work of the artists behind the “Man of Two Worlds,” namely Carmine Infantino. Plus check out the first installment of “Bonus Books” looking at early issues of Justice League and Detective Comics.
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Entry written 1/18/12
I finished Adam Strange Archives Vol. 1 just now, and I have to say that while the archive format is long, the standard archive edition is only about 220 pages, whereas Action Heroes Archives Vol. 2 was a whopping 380 pages! I don’t see these archives taking me too long in the future. At least I hope I can read ‘em quicker!
At any rate, it’s worth mentioning Carmine Infantino’s art, as he provides a majority of the art in the book doing the pencils on all of the later stories, often with Murphy Anderson on inks to great effect. Mike Sekowski pencils the first few stories with Bernard Sachs inking, and these look pretty good too, it’s just things really start popping in the volume when Infantino starts drawing Adam and Alanna’s adventures, especially when Anderson is inking over them (Joe Giella and Sachs also ink over Infantino in some stories). Adam Strange looks handsomer, Alanna foxier, monsters more menacing or just bizarre.
It’s the bizarre stuff I really like a lot. In these stories, Rann is constantly under alien attack, not to mention has various strange wildlife creatures and lost civilizations that manifest themselves in interesting ways. Some of the modern Adam Strange stories are almost boring in comparison to these Silver Age yarns, with Adam having to deal with more social issues on Rann than busting alien jaws open…but I’ll get to those soon enough.
Adam Strange also really uses his noodle to solve problems here. Whether it’s finding a scientific explanation to an enemy’s weakness or a psychological trick to befuddle a foe, Adam uses his head more often than his ray gun. This is not to say there’s not some blasting happening, and there’s even one story where Adam saves the day with a good ol’ fashioned left hook. Most of the time however, it’s brain power that solves the problem. This seems typical of the Silver Age heroes of the day, especially ones written by Gardner Fox and edited by Julius Schwartz like Adam Strange was. However, Adam seems exceptionally sharp and stands out from the pack. He’s the thinking man’s hero.
So after some short winded giants, a tentacled sentient planet, an overgrown atom, a tornado tyrant and a handful of other menaces, the book comes to a close, with Adam trapped once again on Earth vowing to come back to Alanna soon. I guess I can look forward to more of the same with Adam Strange Archives Vol. 2 coming up next, and I’ll probably start those tonight!
I’m broke as a joke, but this week I was able to partake in reading some issues thanks to my buddy John letting me read some of his comics! I was able to read Justice League #4 and Detective Comics #3-5. Here’s some quick thoughts on these books:
Justice League #4
Aquaman joins the gang of gathering heroes after arriving at the end of last issue. I like the confident presence of Aquaman despite some doubt from the rest of the team. There’s some great reactions between the heroes who will form the Justice League, and it’s just really cool to see some of them continue to interact for the first time. But there’s no time to dawdle as things come together and the threat building since the first issue is realized as Darkseid appears to threaten the Earth! This hot book continues to impress me. The backup “feature” is a bunch of personnel files of the employees at S.T.A.R. Labs, including Cyborg’s father, and long time League villains (but not yet villains here) T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo. Reading these is like finding text clues in the Resident Evil games, giving back story on these auxiliary characters and plot, which I liked it quite well. Still not quite worth paying $1 extra for the issue, but it’s still cool.
Detective Comics #3 -#5
I’m just lumping these together since I read ‘em all at the same time. I gotta say Tony S. Daniel’s art is amazing, and his story delivered quite nicely too in his first arc with the new Dollmaker villain. It was a little confusing at times, but overall a great read and #5 launches into a new arc with the Penguin. The second arc doesn’t get off to as shocking a start as the first, but it’s still good comics and worth collecting. There’s also a backup feature teasing another long time old school Batman villain who I look forward to seeing again, not to mention dangling plot threads from the first story arc with the Joker. What a great start to DC’s landmark series!
NOTES FROM NOW (7/22/12): Yes, I admit, these “Bonus Books” are a bit dated at this point now that it’s being posted (both Justice League and Detective Comics are on #11 now) but I did want to kick off the feature, as there are other Bonus Books entries that are graphic novels and such. It has been announced Tony Daniel will be leaving Detective Comics with issue #12 & its September #0, and I have to say, what I read of his run was amazing. Apparently, he has other projects at DC and it sounds like some independent work too, so we’ll have to stay tuned for those. Justice League currently has a hardcover out collecting its first six issues, and the Detective Comics hardcover dropped last month in June. Check those out for the full stories, as they’re both available now.